Rejoice in everything
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Philippians is known as the letter of joy written by the Apostle Paul while he was under house arrest. When one reads through Philippians, we can’t help but be immersed in the joy of Paul, as he exhorts Christians to live dynamic and bold lives. The passage above is so integral to Christian living with the concepts of (a) rejoicing, (b) gentleness and moderation, and (c) prayer, petition and thanksgiving.
If we can all take a moment to close our eyes, and perform a quick exercise; how many times this week have we used the word “stress” or “worry”? It seems like the longer we spend outside of the presence of the Lord, the more these words become commonplace in our lives. We live in a constant state of anxiety and we spend our days numb with worry. How precious are Paul’s words for us now! He exhorts us to be joyful, and in everything turn to the Lord with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. Remember that Paul tells us to turn to God in everything, because our Lord is the God of our lives, not just limited to our “religious” life. How can we accomplish this? The Apostle says, we must elevate our thoughts to the things that are excellent and praiseworthy. To quote Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Often we spend our time focused on unproductive anxiety that paralyzes us, rather than elevating our sight to greater things; to what is right, noble, and pure.
Paul doesn’t stop there. He continues by adding, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” It doesn’t end at elevating our thoughts; when we focus on the right perspective, it also should lead to an elevation of our behavior. A model Christian is one who constantly rejoices in the Lord, one who constantly gives thanks, and one who’s thoughts and behavior are always focused on things above. It is worthwhile to remember that none of us are model Christians. Brothers and sisters, we are all lacking, but yet Jesus has chosen us like he chose his 12 disciples with all of their flaws and character defects.
Today let us take the bold decision to break free from the chains of anxiety and worry and be surrounded by the peace of the Father. Let us kneel in earnest prayer, and pray the following prayer:
Prayer: Father, we thank you and we praise you. We are so grateful for the many blessings that you have showered upon us. Help us to remember today that we are your children; we are your chosen. Elevate our thoughts and behaviors to what is excellent and praiseworthy, pure and noble. Let us look to your faithful servants and apostles as shining examples of your light, and use our own lives to help elevate the thoughts and behaviors of others. Amen.
Thought for the Day: A model Christian is one who constantly rejoices in the Lord.
Charles Abraham, St. John's MTC, NY