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.Philippians 4:4-5
While there are many situations in life that we cannot control, the one thing we can control is how we choose to react to those situations. Even though our initial instinct is to become frustrated, that’s when we step back, take a deep breath, and lean on the Holy Spirit to react rationally.
When we react irrationally, we set ourselves up to fall into temptation, and the people around us do not see a gentle Christ-like spirit. Instead, they only see the world’s reflection, which tells them the church is nothing but more of the same.
Paul adds a caveat to Philippians 4:5. He wrote, “The Lord is near.”
You might say, “Of course, the Lord is near because God is omnipresent,” meaning He is everywhere. Yes, that is true, but Paul is referring to what we see as a consistent theme in his writing: The Second Coming.
However, before the Lord’s imminent return to earth, there is another prophetic event that will take place, an event we refer to as the rapture of the church. The word rapture is not found in the Bible unless you have a Latin translation that uses the term rapturo, which translates to the Greek word harpazo, meaning to be swept up or carried away.
Regarding that event, in Matthew 24:40-42, Jesus said:
“At that time, there will be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
Jesus tells us to be alert; however, how can we do so if we are stuck in the mire of anxiety, worry, frustration, anger, and sin? Where, then, is our focus? It is on ourselves, not God.
That is why Scripture encourages us not to worry about anything but to pray about everything and let everyone know our gentle spirit as a testament to our hope and faith in God, which stirs curiosity about what makes us different and opens the door to sharing the gospel.
When we have calmness on the inside that promotes a gentle spirit for everyone to see and know, God’s peace, which surpasses our understanding, will, as Paul wrote, “guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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