Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional. For the near future, we put our Luke series on pause as we have some stand-alone summer devotionals. I hope you find them helpful.
‘‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! 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.’ (Philippians 4:4-7)
Lesson: The objective and experienced nearness of God fills us with great joy in all circumstances
Objective joy in God and His nearness
Oftentimes our experience of God's nearness is less experiential and more by faith. This does not make His presence any less real anymore than Australia exists more truly if we feel excited about visiting there than if we simply believe it’s there. God's presence is an objective fact because Jesus has promised to be with us and never leave us. We are to rejoice in the Lord. We are to recall and celebrate who God is and what He’s done for us. We are to do this ‘always’. No matter the ups and downs of our lives, we are to worship. God remains true, unchanging, worthy and near in all seasons of life.
Do we see from this text that it’s God’s will that we rejoice in Him? He wants us to turn our minds and hearts toward His great worth and remembrance of His presence. Do we see that by focussing on His superior worth rather than on other things, our love and faith are increased? Quite near to where I live are a couple of sport’s car dealerships. There are always people admiringly looking into the window. As they do so, their desire to have such a car and the vision of life that it offers increases in them. Do we see that admiration is the path to love and worship?
Experienced joy in God and His nearness
Paul promises that those who will rejoice in the Lord and that He is near will experience ‘the peace of God, which transcends all understanding’. It transcends understanding because it’s more than applying our minds to God and good things, but is an experience of God by the Spirit.
The objective and experienced nearness of God fills us with great joy in all circumstances.
‘God promises peace—a supernatural sort of peace we can’t even logically reason out—in place of crippling anxiety. The means of this exchange is prayer.’ (Staton, Tyler. Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools)
Let’s not wait for an experience of the Spirit before we rejoice in the truth that the Spirit has revealed in His Word. Do we allow our minds to drift with the tide of our worries or feelings? Could we not all ‘set our minds on things above’? At some point today, I challenge you to praise God for ten things that you know to be true about Him. If you have a particular worry, try to make those ten things relevant to your challenger. Let’s rejoice in the Lord, I’ll say it again: Rejoice!
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
Until September I'll not be producing a group study. However, if you meet with your group why not simply use one of the devotionals as a basis for your discussion together?