When we have a need, we are not to hide it, deny it, or disregard it; we are to rejoice in the Lord.
Philippians 4:4 NIV Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
The word rejoice is an imperative, a command. It is present tense, urging continuous action. It's an attitude of life, “always rejoice.”
Our focus is to be on the Lord, not on our need. Our focus should be vertical not horizontal. Our focus should be on God not people or things.
Colossians 3:1-4 NIV Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (emphasis mine)
I preached a sermon with the title “The Secret of Facing Need”. In it I said that when we have real needs and are faced with difficult circumstances, we should respond by being enthusiastic, peaceful, positive, teachable, expectant, generous, and fulfilled. All of this results in joy and rejoicing.
We can rejoice in all circumstances. I didn't say rejoicing for the circumstances but in the middle of them. To do that we have to see things from God’s perspective and be enthusiastic in dealing with our needs.
The word enthusiasm is derived from two little Greek words, en and theos, with theos being the Greek word for God. So "enthusiasm" means, in its root concept, "full of God." Maybe that’s why enthusiastic people are so often creative and joyful!
Rejoice and again I say rejoice.
Editor’s Note: In one of his daily devotions Rick Warren gives us four ways to develop joy even amid chaos. I have used some of his thoughts in this post.
Philippians 4:5-7 NIV 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.
Thank God in all things.
When you pray, do it with thanksgiving. The healthiest human emotion is gratitude. It increases your immunities. It makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness.
People who are grateful are happy. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied. It’s never good enough.
But if you cultivate an attitude of gratitude—of being thankful in every circumstance—your stress will lessen.
Don’t worry about anything.
Worrying doesn’t change anything. It’s stewing without doing.
No one is born a worrier. Worry is a learned response. You learned it from your parents. You learned it from your peers. You learned it from experience. That’s good news. The fact that worry is learned means it can also be unlearned.
The natural tendency in a time of need is to worry, fret and often lash out. But worry is not the answer!
God’s Word says we are not to worry about anything.
Matthew 6:25-34 NIV “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (emphasis mine)
When we worry, we are sinning by showing a lack of trust in God. Instead, we are instructed to commit our requests to God in prayer and allow him to be Lord in our lives.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Pray about everything.
Instead of worrying, use your time to pray. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a lot less to worry about. God is interested in every detail of your life. And because of that, you can take any problem to God that you face.
Peace comes through prayer as an act of worship, through asking earnestly for our personal needs to be met, and through thanking God for meeting those needs whenever He meets them. This brings a peace that is beyond human understanding which keeps guarding our inner life. It calms us.
Think about the right things.
If you want to reduce the level of stress in your life, you must change the way you think, because the way you think determines how you feel. And the way you feel determines how you act. The Bible teaches that, if you want to change your life, you need to change what you’re thinking about.
Philippians 4:8 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Think positively, not negatively. Think spiritual thoughts. Think high thoughts, honest thoughts, thoughts worthy of respect, Think agreeable, loving, and pure thoughts. Then you will be living by God’s standards. This involves a deliberate, conscious choice to think about the right things. You need to choose to think about positive things and focus on God’s Word.
What is the result of not worrying, praying about everything, giving thanks, and focusing on the right things?
Philippians 4:7 NIV And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.