Let me ask, what are the traits that you crave that you see in a godly man or woman? Mostly peace! All humans have the sin of anxiety, and therefore can all identify with stress and the awful toll it takes on a person. We all know what it means to feel anger, stress, anxiety, disappointment. There is no human who does not know those feelings intimately. We want peace, joy.
Did you know that you have the ability to think a thought but not get anxious about it? He told us we have that. We just are not using that ability. We have the ability to be anxious about nothing at all.
Phil 4:4 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. NKJV
Why? Why would the Lord give us such a hard task? Why would He expect us to actually obey something that is so incredibly contrary to our natures?
Why Peace is Important
Because our life is not about us! It is about winning others to the Lord through showing the grace He has given us. However, we can only show that if we are obedient and refuse all anxious thoughts.
Our life is about showing others how mighty the Lord is. He can even give our hearts and minds peace when things seem really bad! The other people will see that we are at peace and want that too. They will want the Lord, because we are at peace. They will want the Lord because of our peace and obedience. We are a walking testimony if we obey. Plus, we are blessed in our obedience. It is one of the few commandments that has instant gratification.
If we do not stress, if we are peaceful, then others will see our peace in situations that they know would cause torment in themselves. No one wants to be tormented—people want to be happy. So seeing our peaceful trust in the Lord will give them the opportunity to think “WOW. I would be a wreck if I was her, I know what it feels like to have a sick child! But she is so calm! She says God gives her peace…I want to be peaceful like that.”. So they too look toward the Lord. You see, anxiety is not a private sin—people can see it. Likewise peace shines to others like the sun shines in the sky. People cannot miss it.
So when it is difficult not to stress, instead of trying to overcome the anxiety because it is “good for you”, overcome it because it is a command, because you have the ability, and because it will lead others to the Lord. Surely leading others to the Lord, to eternal salvation, is more important than dwelling on any stress we have here.
2 Cor 5:5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord– 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight– 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. NAS
How Do We Still Our Minds?
How do we do this? By obeying Phil 4:4–“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Paul is saying “No, really I mean it, REJOICE. Not just sometimes, not just when you feel good, not just when things go right but alllll the time. Right now. Two seconds from now. When your kid throws up in the car. When your spouse hurts your feelings. When you feel ugly. When your boss promotes someone else over you, and then expects you to train that person. When you are reviled or adored. When everything IS going your way. Rejoice ALWAYS.”.
What does rejoicing always do? It let’s our “gentleness be evident to ALL”. How and why? Because “the Lord is near”, and people can see that. They can see that because you are not acting in human nature, that nature that they already know and have. You are acting contrary to human nature. You are acting in love and grace and peace, which is what most people on earth do not have.