I definitely gained new perspective on one of my favorite Scriptures while reading this passage from “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan …
… “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). You’ll notice that it doesn’t end with “… unless you’re doing something extremely important.” No, it’s a command for all of us, and it follows with the charge, “Do not be anxious about anything” (v. 6).
That came as a pretty staggering realization. But what I realized next was even more staggering
When I am consumed by my problems — stressed out about my life, my family, and my job — I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a “right” to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities. …
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.
Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we’ve been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won’t be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small, indeed.
So I read those verses again.
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 everything, 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
Then I think about it again. And I feel my shoulders relax and my heart rejoice because, really, I can and SHOULD loosen my grip on life.