Christ at work within
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
Paul, from the text, once again reinforces a mindset influenced by the Lordship of Christ over one’s life. Such mindset is characterized by the ability to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).The source of joy that he discusses from the text comes from the joy of having committed friends. It is as if he anticipates a positive response to his appeal from Euodia and Syntyche. He can say with great confidence, then, “Rejoice.” It is significant that so many of these admonitions that focus on a way of thinking are connected to the phrase “in the Lord.” In Philippians 3:1, they are to rejoice “in the Lord.” In Philippians 4:1, they stand firm “in the Lord.” In Philippians 4:2, the two ladies are to agree “in the Lord.” He has talked about working for the sake of Christ, of knowing Christ, of gaining Christ, and of faith in Christ (Philippians 3:7–9). It seems clear that these all go back to the passage in which they are admonished to have the mind of unselfishness and humility which they have by virtue of being in Christ Jesus (see Philippians 2:5–11). Since they are in Christ Jesus, their whole way of thinking is affected. They can now see all of life from a different perspective, a godly perspective. With this perspective from being in Christ Jesus, they can rejoice and do so “always,” meaning “in all situations.” Because they can rejoice in the relationships they have among the body of Christ, this will lead to a demonstration of “gentleness evident to all” (Philippians 4:5). The word translated “gentleness” describes the characteristic of a person who does not demand his or her own rights in relationships. This “gentleness” goes beyond strict judgment. It is the same attitude Jesus had shown; “...the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:1). It should be “evident to all” (Philippians 4:5), meaning even to those outside of the church. The world ought to see in the life of believers the willingness to go beyond the demands of strict justice instead it should be giving, considerate, and with gentle spirit. Once we demonstrate such virtues to those around us, we reflect and magnify the Lord working in us; “the Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5).