Hey, do you want to be happy? Do you want to be worry-free? Do you wish for a stress-free life? Let me share with you the formula Paul taught the Philippians. He told them to rejoice ‘always’ – always means good times or bad! Radical huh?! How to do that!?
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
In the LORD! Not in success, not in security, not in money, not in fame nor popularity… But in the Lord. In Chinese, 靠 主, depending on God. Our happiness is based on God – we depend on Him, we find joy in pleasing Him. We find our satisfaction in Him alone. Worldly pleasures are temporal. Only joy found in the Lord lasts!
5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Gentle spirit is the state of mind at peace – having no strife with people. Stop arguing. Stop bickering. In Chinese, 不要斤斤计较. Don’t haggle over every ounce. 不要为小事斤斤计较: don’t sweat the small stuff. 斤斤计较个人得失: to be preoccupied with the fault of other people. To be gentle in spirit is to be humble. To let go. I don’t need to win every argument, haggle every point, sweat the small stuff and record the offences made against me.
Know that the Lord is near. He is coming soon. This perspective helps me to be gentle. To let go of what is temporal and look forward to the eternal. When this world brings us down, let us rejoice in hope of this wonderful day, when Jesus will return to take us with Him – to the eternal presence of God in heaven.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Worry for nothing, but in everything to pray. How? with a thankful heart, tell God all your requests. Then what? There is a promise from this exercise of worry-free, heart full of gratitude praying to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Surely, the peace of God which gives joy, will be with us. We will experience His peace which is beyond human understanding. People will be amazed at how this peace will keep our hearts and our minds steady in joy; steadfast unwavering in our gladness as we abide in Jesus Christ. Our happiness will be rooted in God’s peace and not in our changing circumstances.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Another formula to joyful heart is found in v. 8. We are to think of good things. Focus on the truth, the honourable, the right, the pure, the lovely, the good repute, the excellent and all that is worthy of praise. Surely when my mind is filled with these good things, my heart will be filled with joy.
Finally, out of the heart, the mouth speaks, the hands acts and the life lives! When I intentionally practice to live a joyful life, the God of peace is mine to enjoy and experience!
9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.