← back to list

Sep 05, 2021

Joy and Peace

Joy and Peace

Passage: Philippians 4:4-7

Speaker: Rev. Michael Pestel

Series: Joy

Joy and Peace Philippians 4:4-7 by Michael Pestel

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry 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)

I think about how I wish I could live in the lights of love, joy, hope and peace now. How I wish I could fast-forward to a “normal” Christmas and past the truly awful stuff affecting so many people right now. But there is no fast-forward “click” to life.

The voice from 2,000 years ago says that the peace of God will come to you. It will dry your tears, it will give you courage to face the day, it will give you strength to make a difference. 

We don’t rejoice in hurricanes, bombings, a protracted pandemic. We acknowledge pain and brokenness for what it is. What we do is rejoice in is THE LORD.

When Christ is the center there is an unshakeable rock we are planted on. Get in the habit of joy being a God thing, first and last. 

“Do not worry about anything.” (Phil. 4:6) Paul’s urging is that we resist getting to a place where the worry train is running on its own and we’re no longer behind the wheel.

Interestingly, there’s another place Paul uses this exact same word to tell us we SHOULD worry! It gets translated as “care” in I Corinthians 12:25 when Paul is talking about the people of the church and insists that “…(that) the members may have the same CARE for one another.”

Using things and loving people, that’s the way it’s got to be. Look around and you can see that loving things and using people only leads to misery   - BJ Thomas

In Philippians 4, Paul does a compare and contrast thing: “Let your gentleness be known to everyONE… do not worry about anyTHING. 

Paul inserts “The Lord is near” in the middle of these verses, this is how God’s presence becomes tangible to us. Rejoicing, being gentle, aligning our concerns with God’s concerns, then lifting our requests to God in a spirit of thanksgiving. 

A carpenter turned homeless healer finds himself put on a cross, abandoned by his friends, and he says things like, “Father, forgive them,” “Today, you will be with me in paradise,” and “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” On the cross, Jesus of Nazareth exhibits a peace that passes all understanding. It doesn’t make sense.

Shalom in the way of the religion of Jesus means “wholeness with God.” I have confidence deep down, in a way I can’t fully explain or make sense of, that I am with God and God is with me. I know that in the end everything will be okay, and if it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end.

One dimension of experiencing joy is from spiritual practice. Another facet is from the practice of mental/emotional health care. Professional counseling is a gift in the journey of finding joy and peace in life.

Samaritan Counseling Services of the Gulf Coast

“Lord, with whatever strength we have, we rejoice in you today. With whatever spirit sensitivity we have, we seek to feel your nearness. With all the love we can muster, we lift up people to you who need you the most. May we find Jesus the Christ guarding our hearts and minds with the fullness of peace, God’s shalom offering wholeness for a hurting world. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.”