Editorial Note: I feel compelled to clarify some things in this post. The Lord showed me that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, and in this season, has come to distract. He is working overtime to get people and ministries distracted from the commission to further the Kingdom of God and speak life. We must meditate on the Word of God and discover the great works of instruction that are set down to benefit us in our pursuit. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Philppians 4:8 demonstrates our power to change our way of thinking and stay focused on Jesus. Blessings.
Why do you supposed God downloaded Philippians 4:8 to Paul? I find it amazing that Paul was writing a letter to the church in Philippi, beseeching them to be in unity. He encourages them to support each other and assist each other in the ministry. He commands them to rejoice. Does that even fit in there? Rejoicing recounts the blessings of God. Worship and praise rearrange things to proper perspective. Rejoicing forcefully pulls one out of depression, self-absorbed thinking, and turns the mind to the heart of God. Immediately after that, he gives perfect instruction. Be anxious for nothing but bring your concerns to God, and the peace of God will overtake you. That is a promise. Stop complaining, stop talking smack about other people, quit recounting your frustration and confusion, and hand it over to God who will handle it in a way that works out for the good of everyone involved. Let the peace of God guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Seek Him, embrace His peace, let go of frustration and confusion, knowing He has your back. Keep rejoicing and thanking Him till you have release.
Then comes verse 4:8, one of the most urgently important exhortations in the Bible. It will keep you in a place of communication with the Lord, at peace and effective. Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, is virtuous is praiseworthy. Do you want to let go of being hurt by someone? Did someone say or do mean ugly things to you or about you? Did you lose your job? Did you get sick? Well, what is true about it? Is it really truth or is it the enemy creating dissention and division? The enemy is a liar and when you feel frustrated and confused, depressed and angry; ask yourself if what you are perceiving is the truth. If you need to make amends, Jesus will help you do it. We are not fighting against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers of darkness. The devil wants to destroy you. Are your thoughts noble, just and pure? If not, repent of them and give them up. Pray! It’s not easy, just keep doing it till you get breakthrough. I have had to do this many times in my life. The Bible says I have the mind of Christ, but I also have flesh to fight. Many times, we just have to reject negative thoughts because they are not from God and are not true. We rebuke the enemy and resist the temptation to go back to that wrong thinking. Instead, we need to stop in our tracks and just start rejoicing over what God has done. Ask for freedom and peace and truth. Start running thoughts around in your head of the goodness of God. Remember what He has done for you. Speak those things that be not as though they were. There is always grace enough to start over. If we persevere, a moment always comes when the light of truth dawns, the depression lifts, and the gray areas are illuminated with the warm cozy love of Jesus. And just like that, transformation comes. You are free and happy, light and full of joy. It’s up to us to choose.
The instructions are right there in the book. How amazing is it that Jesus included all this in salvation? The only book that has survived thousands of years, has all the wisdom of God set forth right there in those pages. When we read it, we are changed, improved and refined. What if Paul had not written this letter? Generations later, here we are. We would not know how to live in freedom and truth. Keep in mind that Paul was actually in prison when he wrote this. Nothing could imprison his heart and mind. He could have been miserable, wallowing in self-pity at being unjustly accused. God showed him the avenue to peace. God preserved this information for us. I believe God’s plan for us is peace and freedom as we navigate life. In this world there will be trouble but rejoice. Jesus changes things. So, no matter what is going on around us, if we will prayerfully guard our hearts and minds by doing these things, our lives will emerge victorious and at perfect peace. Think on those things. Ask the Lord to show you His heart for you. There is no better friend than Jesus. Blessings.