“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.”
(Philippians 4:4-7, ESV)
In the midst of a world which is filled with violence and sin masquerading as righteousness, Paul’s words help us avoid the tendency to feel angry, anxious or negative. Paul is not giving us mere platitudes here. He knew what he was talking about was difficult. He was one who endured a lot of suffering as well as violence from those who opposed the gospel of grace, both inside the church and in the communities he visited, especially from the Jews. Yet he says we should be joyful and contented. We should thank God for what we have rather than what we do not. That is a hard thing to do but we have to focus on God’s sufficiency to carry us through every trial and circumstance, to meet every need rather than our impotence. He will give us peace in the midst of struggles.
In addition, we must focus on the good things of the Lord and what He is doing. There is just so much negative news in our world that it is a struggle to remember all the wonders of the universe that the Lord has set in place. And as far as the bad things that happen and all the suffering our fellow human beings endure, we should work to alleviate that suffering as well through the use of our time, talents and finances. And we should work to counteract the evil in the world by doing what is right, good and true rather than praising those cultural idols, politicians, business men and celebrities who do not glorify God. In this way we will give glory and honor to the Lord by living according to the standards of God’s Kingdom.