4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:4-6)
This set of scripture and more that comes after, is some of the well worn pages of my bible. Each line is rich with meaning and comfort. Complete books could be written about a very few lines within this book alone!
Much like these three scriptures that effectively give us a recipe for peace in our lives. These are strong internal elements that provide both comfort and a sense of confidence.
Rejoice, touch others with your gentle spirit, and be anxious for nothing. Take everything to God in prayer with thanksgiving first and then make your request known to God (which he already knows…).
So much wealth in such small sections of scripture.
19 “Follow me,” he told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19 CSB)
Ours is a twofold task; we are to come in to the salvation of Christ and we are to go out and spread the good news.
There is no going out without coming in.
And once we have come in we should want to go out.
It may not be a comfortable task and we may struggle with what to say. However, by spending time in the Word we are taught what to say and how. Then we have the Spirit to guide us.
Thus we have the opportunity each day to go out and be fishers of men.
10 and find out what pleases the Lord. (Ephesians 5:10 NIV)
Do you find out what pleases the Lord? Do you take the time to take your plans to Him in prayer, seeking His direction and His good will? Do you feel like you understand when you are walking along God’s path?
We tend to live our lives in a dead run all the time. Not seeking God’s will, but doing what we believe is right, right now. Moments come and go without so much as a thought, it is just the pace of life.
But how much better might life be if we were to take each moment captive and bathe it in the light and love of God through prayer. It seems daunting to think of doing this every moment, but continual prayer means we are continually in touch with our loving God.
12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12 CSB)
There are many things we should labor in earnestly. Having a strong work ethic tends to make us earnest laborers. Having a strong sense of family tends to make us labor earnestly for our families. A deep life of faith will see us laboring earnestly in our prayer life for ourselves and, just as often, others.
Epaphras, in our scripture, was one who could have been called a prayer warrior. He labored earnestly in his prayers so that others might stand strong in God and in their faith.
I have had the privilege of knowing people like Epaphras. People who labored continually in prayer for others. Many of these being infirmed and unable to do much for themselves but earnestly prayed for others.
This was their ministry.
16 “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16 CSB)
It is a cruel hard world out there. Thus, we have to keep a bit of an edge to survive in it and Christ knew this when he sent the disciples out. He wanted them to retain their innocence but knew that they would need to also be shrewd. If not they would be taken advantage of and would not discern those who were true followers and those who just wanted to sew discord.
We too must seek to retain some innocence while being shrewd. To approach each day like a child with wonder and excitement but to be wise in our dealings watching for the wolves among the sheep.
We must be sheepdogs that watch ourselves and the flock.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
It is one thing to memorize scripture to have it handy in our memory when needed. But to truly benefit, we must hide it in our hearts. We must imbed it in who we are in such a way that when we are tempted both our hearts and minds are focused upon Christ.
In this way we can weather life’s storms and be ready when the enemy slings his fiery darts and arrows at our heart.
Thus, head and heart are in sync with the Spirit and will help us through our days.
26 If anyone[a] thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself. (James 1:26 CSB)
Can you imagine a world where we all controlled what we said? One where we did not let the evil we think become the words we say. But then, how much more a world where we filtered what we thought through scripture first so that we captured even the thought before it was given time to grow?
The old adage we grew up with holds much wisdom, “if we do not have anything good to say, say nothing at all.”
Or better yet hold to the quote, “It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
This scripture holds the core of wisdom for all of the above in simply learning to control our tongue.