Philippians 4:4–7 (ESV): Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This is one of my favorite texts, and Joey’s too. Following Jesus can produce a life that rejoices, lives free from anxiety, and has enduring peace. At least for me, this comes in waves. My circumstances or attitude can cause those crests and troughs to get me off center.
Reading this week the phrase, “Let your reasonableness” jumped out at me for the first time. It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment, good or bad. Before making big plans or letting something really shake you its good to sit back and think reasonably about it.
On the good side, I knew I wanted to marry Joey within a couple day of kissing her the first time. I was swept up in great lovey emotion/chemicals in my brain. I had enough sense to know I needed to wait a couple months for that to end before I would be able to reasonably think about her/us to see if marriage was indeed what I wanted to do. Love is not simply an emotional feeling. To choose to love someone for a lifetime should be a rational, thoughtful, covenant.
On the tough side, when things throw me out of balance, I have to rationally think and decide to trust God in the unknown. It often helps me to think about times when God has brought me through other difficult situations, or opened doors I never dreamed of. Then I can come to a conclusion to trust God, because I have been reasonable and then I can commit to that trust. Part of that reasoning is knowing how much God loves me, and knowing that regardless of my understanding, God has a plan for my life.
This is where the “with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,” comes in. Talking with God, not talking to God, is essential to the Christian life. I’m going to talk to God about the awesome things, and the awful things, and I’m going to listen for God’s guidance, comfort and strength. Ultimately, I’m going to be thankful. There are times I am not happy about what God is saying to do, or not do, but I have enough life experience to know that doing things God’s way brings peace, joy and relieves anxiety. Doing things my way..... not so much.
Let me pray for us.
God, help us to not get blown by the waves of life, back and forth. Through our conversations with you, bring us back to a place of peace and joy. We don’t have a clue what our future holds, and things seem scarier now than usual. God, help us to rest in you, to trust in who you are and your love for us. Help us to make the right choice and choose to follow you every day.