“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Now I have lots of favorite passages of scripture, but the passage above is one of my favorite favorites. And it seems appropriate for Thanksgiving, so I’m using it again. (I’ve used it at least four times in articles for the newsletter and sermons over the eight years I’ve been here!)
Be joyful all the time! Don’t worry, just pray! Let your minds think about Jesus Christ! Paul’s words to the church in Philippi are pretty simple. But most of us have a hard time relaxing into that kind of attitude.
So, here’s what I do. When things get really stressful I close my eyes and take a deep breath and say those words (or sing them) – “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” And sometimes I sing the whole chorus. And sometimes I just stop there. And sometimes I say the entire passage. The words tend to help me focus once more on Jesus Christ.
I’ve challenged you many times over the past few years. So here’s another one. Memorize these verses. Then when your life seems to be getting out of hand say them out loud or to yourself. And breathe in the Spirit and rejoice!