Philippians 4:5-6

In Philippians 4:5-6 Paul continues to teach how we should live as Christ Followers. “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Paul used an interesting ancient Greek word (epieikeia) that is translated reasonableness here. Clarke explains “The word epieikes is of very extensive signification; it means the same as epieikeia, mildness, patience, yieldingness, gentleness, clemency, moderation, unwillingness to litigate or contend; but moderation is expressive enough as a general term.” A good example of this quality is when Jesus showed gentleness with the woman who was taken in adultery in a set-up and brought to Jesus. He knew how to show a holy gentleness to her.

This word describes the heart of a person who will let the Lord fight his battles. It describes a person who is really free to let go of His anxieties and all the things that cause him stress, because he knows that the Lord will take up his cause. Paul wants everyone to see that in us as Christ Followers. Why can we do that? “ We know that Jesus will settle every wrong at His return, and we can trust Him to make things right in our falling-apart world. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

And because Jesus has it all under His control, we don’t need to be anxious about anything. This is a command, not an option. Worry is an intrusion into an arena that belongs to God alone. It is not our place to worry, but rather the command is to pray. These two aspects of prayer are similar, but distinct. Prayer is a broader word that can mean all of our communication with God, but supplication directly asks God to do something. So why don’t we pray? And why aren’t all our prayers answered? Many of our prayers go unanswered because we do not ask God for anything. Here God invites us simply to let your requests be made known. He wants to know what is on our heart and mind.

It isn’t that God needs us to tell Him our prayers – God already knows our requests before we pray them; yet He will often wait for our participation through prayer before granting that which we request. God knows our heart, but He wants us to come to Him and spend time with Him asking. And our prayers need to be made with thanksgiving. This guards against a whining, complaining spirit before God when we let our requests be made known. We really can be anxious for nothing, pray about everything, and be thankful for anything. Prayer is not getting God on our page, but rather us getting us on His page. He is author of life and in control of what will happen. Prayer is how we line up with God by talking with Him!

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