Rejoice in the Lord
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
This is from the book of Philippians, which was written by the Apostle Paul. You remember Paul-he is the one who was adamantly opposed to Christianity and then had a life changing encounter with Christ. After that, Paul travelled all over the Mediterranean speaking to whoever would listen about our Savior. Some people were glad to hear the Good News and converted and became faithful followers. Others listened and acted like they were on board, but then got distracted or met with too much opposition to continue in the faith. And some people hated what Paul was doing. So Paul was often in trouble with the authorities. In fact, when he wrote the above words, he was in prison awaiting trial.
His situation was not good. His future was uncertain. He was isolated, lonely, and possibly even in chains. So what does he do? He tells the followers of Jesus Christ to rejoice in the Lord. He tells them not to worry, but to take things to God in prayer. He tells them to focus on what is honorable, just, pure, pleasing, praiseworthy, and excellent. And he tells them to keep on keepin’ on.
The promised reward is the presence of the God of Peace.
Don’t we all need that? Maybe more now than a few months ago, but for some of us, maybe not. The thing is that we always and everywhere need to have the peace of God and the presence of the God of peace.
So what can you do today to focus your mind on excellent things? To focus on keeping your thoughts honorable and true? To strengthen your mind with purity and commendable things?
There is nothing that we can do about this pandemic other than to stay away from other people. But we can, even in this time of trial and uncertainty, experience peace.
May the Peace of Christ go with you.