"4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." -Philippians 4:4-9 NKJV
Read over that once more - are you wondering how God could possibly expect you to rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS? To let yourself be known for your gentleness and your peacefulness? And to constantly keep all those things in verse 8 in your mind and on your heart? Does God really understand how stressful it is in today's kitchens? Does He understand all the hours you put in? Does He really understand how your co-workers treat you and all the other things going on in your life? Does He really expect all that, or is it just some unachievable biblical goal we should have?
Well, yes, and no. God doesn't expect us to be perfect, as He knows we're sinners and we're always going to sin. But yes, He does expect us to strive for all those things, and, as a little further on in verse 11 Paul exclaims, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." Any study of Paul's life shows that it was not an easy life. He didn't naturally know all those things he shared that we should do in the above verses, but rather day-by-day learned them by the grace of God - not because of how good he was at learning, but because he was willing to do so. And if anyone is still saying "but you don't know what I'm going through right now," you're right - I don't, but I know the One who does - God. And I am also fairly confident that none of us has ANY trials going on that compare with those that God allowed Paul to endure.
Therefore we should (verse 4) rejoice always. Have you been complaining about a co-worker or praising God for putting you in that person's life to be a witness to them and praising God that you have a job in the first place?
We should (verse 5) let our gentleness be known to all. Do you lose your temper often or have you learned (this one's most definitely learned) to be at peace with God in all circumstances?
We should (verse 6) be anxious for nothing. Do you worry much about what tomorrow will hold -- if you'll get that promotion or make enough money to pay the bills? God has EVERYTHING under control - He knows all that we need and promised that He WILL provide it. As Jesus said, "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?" (Luke 12:24-26 NKJV). We have NOTHING to worry about; therefore stop! Replace worry with prayer -- prayer focused on God and His perfect will that works out only in His perfect timing, not the circumstances and what you want.
And by doing all that (verse 7) you WILL have a life of peace with God. You choose what goes on in your mind (verse 8), and for anything else -- you can't blame your co-workers, your boss, how you were brought up, Satan, the way you feel, or anyone else other than yourself.
Again, this isn't something impossible that the Bible tells you to do, but rather a reality you can choose to follow or not, as Paul himself (verse 9), a mere man just like us, set the example. Imagine if all Paul did while in stocks in prison was complain about the discomfort, the bad company, the lack of food, and how terrible the people were who put him there. He would have been just like everyone else there and nothing good would have come of it. Rather he chose to pray, sing, and focus on God -- and when he did, the people listened and converted. What do others see in you? Do your co-workers and neighbors see someone full of anxiety, worry, and defeat, focused on yourself and your own circumstances, or do they see someone (verse 6) anxious for nothing and at peace with God? We should constantly strive to be more and more of the latter and we will see, just as Paul did, people listening and converting because of the peace of God they see working through us.
If God is speaking to your heart about these things, and you need
somebody to talk with, please don't hesitate to e-mail us about your need and
somebody from the Fellowship will contact you as soon as possible. If you
have a prayer request or would like to start a theological discussion on this or
any other topic please feel free to post it in our Message Boards.
Click HERE to return to the general Christianity in the Kitchen page.