“Rejoice in the LORD always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation (gentleness) be known unto all men. The LORD is at hand. Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:4-7
If you know me or if you have listened to our podcast Abundant Life, then you know one of my top love languages is gifts. I am not sure how this came to be, but I believe it stems from when my dad would always bring a souvenir gift for me when he would travel out of state. I sometimes anticipated the gift he was bringing more than just being able to see him again. Of course I was happy to see my dad, but I could not wait to see what he got me. I would follow him to his room to see him open his suitcase and reveal the gift he got me. He did not always bring me something big, but he nearly always brought me something. I remember I held this expectation for all people and even asked our next door neighbor what they had gotten me whenever they travelled. Initially, they thought I was a crazy little boy, but the next time they went somewhere, I got a little souvenir gift that I was happy to receive.
I have been blessed in my life and have never gone a day without food, clothes or shelter. God has provided for me beyond measure, and this is speaking only of the physical which pales in comparison to the spiritual. While I already have received God’s abundant provisions, I have never been shy about sharing my wish list. I have worked on that aspect of my life as I try not to proactively share those things with others now, but I will gladly share my wish list with anyone who asks. I have passed this love of gifts onto my daughter which has led to my Instagram direct messages quickly filling up with Christmas deals and “one time” sales. I guess she learned from the best, and I have come to know the apple does not fall very far from the tree.
Although God has taken care of me in every imaginable way, I do still have need of things that I ask for. I still have a “wish” list that now looks more like a prayer list. Sure, I do have earthly things I wish for, but I desire more and more for the spiritual things. I desire for my lost loved ones to come to know the Savior, and I desire for my friends that do not know Him to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I desire for my friends who are praying for their lost friends and family to be saved and that they would come to the saving knowledge of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray for moment-by-moment spiritual growth, and I pray for the filling of the Spirit so that I do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. I pray for God to work in the lives of others and especially those who I call family. I see some who struggle with their sin nature much like I do, and I pray that they claim the victory that God has given all of us through His Son Jesus Christ.
I am convicted that I do not put as much time into my spiritual wish list as I do my earthly one. My affections get set on things on this earth instead of affixed to that which is above. There is nothing wrong with earthly things, but they should not be my main priority. The verses above tell us to be anxious about nothing and to bring all our worries, concerns, hurts, failures, and dreams to the throne room. God desires that we bathe all these things in prayer, and that we come to Him for all we need. He is never too busy, and He is always available whenever we need Him.
He desires that we take our requests to Him, but He also desires that we come to Him with thanksgiving. A thankful heart will change our attitude and take the focus off of us and onto Him who is our sustainer and supplier in all things. It is amazing the change that will come about when you take all things to Him, and you thank Him for all that He has done in your life even though you may not appreciate it at the moment. When we thank Him for His faithfulness, it will allow our hearts to rejoice and He will give us peace in the most adverse times. He is worthy of all praise, and we will spend all eternity praising our God and King.
Where are you today friend? Are you stressed out from all that you have going on in your life? Are you taking all things to Him with prayer and supplication? Do you come into His presence with rejoicing for all that He has done? Do you come to Him with thanksgiving? Are you trusting in God’s sovereignty and trusting in His perfect will for your life? What needs to change in your life today? Do you need to replace your complaining with thanksgiving and prayer? Will you take time out of your busy day to reset yourself by coming into His presence? May we take all things to Him, and may we spend the necessary time in prayer with thanksgiving and rejoicing to our great God and Heavenly Father. “Rejoice in the LORD always: and again I say, Rejoice.”