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Disarming Grace for Irritable Saints (Philippians 4:4-7)

May 24, 2024 By: Louis Morales Topic: Uncategorized Scripture: Philippians 4:4-7

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

This passage, with its sweet promises of protection, provision, and joy can (ironically enough) seem burdensome if not understood properly.  Rejoice always?  Be on my best behavior for everyone?  Never be anxious?  I don’t feel the peace of God… what am I doing wrong?

In Philippians, Paul overflows with the desire to invite all believers into the supernatural joy and peace he has, even while a prisoner of Rome.  These gifts from God (identified in Galatians as fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence in a believer) are not only a welcome emotional boost — earlier in this epistle, Paul identifies joy with progress in faith (1:25) and rejoicing with spiritual protection (3:1), adding that the peace of God guards our hearts and minds (4:7).

Scripturally, we can conclude that it is God’s good and pleasing will to lead all His children ever deeper into an experience of the lifestyle described in this passage.  If you are displeased with yourself because of your sins, look at this passage in context: In Christ, these commands are not a burden, but an invitation!  

Over time, our loving Heavenly Father is teaching us to walk in His grace — grace made available freely, through faith, even when (especially when!) we are at our most uptight, irritable, and anxious.

As you prepare for Sunday’s sermon, read Philippians 4 (better yet, read or listen to all four chapters of the letter!) and consider the following questions:

Rejoice in the Lord always

How can learning to always rejoice in the Lord help our sanctification/progress in faith?  (Hint: Read Romans 5:1-5, James 1:2-4, and 1 Peter 4:12-16.)

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone

Read 2:5-11 and John 13:1-5.  In both passages, what did the Lord Jesus know with certainty about Himself, and how did it affect His actions?  If we believe these things about Him and know what He has done for us, how should that affect our actions?

Do not be anxious… let your requests be made known

If — contrary to this verse — you do feel anxious, does that make you feel unfit to pray?  Have you asked God to teach you how your anxiety could actually motivate you to pray more fervently?

In the Lord’s Prayer, what do we say before requesting bread, forgiveness, and protection?  How can acknowledging God’s absolute sovereignty help give us biblical perspective?

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [you] in Christ Jesus

As the Holy Spirit gives believers this peace, how does this motivate us to act toward God and toward one another?