Yesterday at Baltimore Bible Church we took a break from our series on Matthew for a special Mother’s Day focus. Pastor George preached on the attitudes of a transformed mom from Philippians 4:4-7:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We live in a culture that does not place a high value on motherhood. Many women put children off for years to focus on a career and women who choose to raise children rather than pursue promotions, higher salaries, and more possessions are seen as backward and taking an easy way out. The world’s obsession with “success” and financial security means we have traded one of the highest callings, raising and nurturing eternal souls, for being more productive economic units.
The actual work of motherhood is often viewed as a drudgery and not a fruitful way of spending a life. While there are certainly aspects of it that aren’t glamorous, from this passage we can see three attitudes that should be present in a mother whose life is transformed in Christ.
Understanding the context of this command is key. It’s not a generic statement Paul just thinks of sending to the church at Philippi. This church was under intense persecution, living and meeting in fear. To rejoice in these circumstances was a daily lived struggle for these saints. Not surprisingly, joy through suffering is the main theme of this letter. The joy of believers is not rooted in circumstances, but is deeply seated in the knowledge that we are secure in our salvation and have nothing to fear.
Be Gentle Before all Men
In the text this is followed by a short sentence that at first may seem to come out of nowhere: “The Lord is near.” This profound statement bears on both this and the next command not to worry. Earthly struggles pale in comparison to the glory of the Lord’s imminent return. When we remember that we know how it ends, in the most glorious victory, bearing our presents struggles becomes a much lighter burden.
Let Your Requests Be Made Known to God
The final section of this passage comes with a prohibition, a prescription, and a promise. First, be anxious for nothing. There is no place for a divided, worried mind in the life of a believer. We aren’t in control of our lives anyway, so why worry? Second, we must give thanks in everything, recognizing the faithfulness of God in our past and trusting in it for the future. And finally, God promises that He will give us peace in exchange for bringing our anxieties and requests to Him.