Renewing Our Minds for Rejoicing, Pt. 5 – “Think Submissively”

by Pastor James Lee

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. 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 the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:4-8)

To think well is to think submissively to the Lord as Lord, to trust His wisdom, to obey His will, and not challenge either as being defective, nor to bring Him down to our size, which in reality is to put us above Him. If we think submissively, we’re remembering that our future in Christ could not be better! We’re content because of that. We’re secure because of that. And God grants us a peace that surpasses all understanding, one that transcends all analysis, human definitions, rational powers, because you don’t go to people to get it, you go to God to get it. It’s more than all that we can ever ask or imagine on our own. And notice something very important… Paul doesn’t say that if you pray with thanksgiving, then God’s going to answer all your requests the way you want. In fact, he doesn’t say anything about an answer, but that whenever and however the answer may come, God will give us what? Peace in the storms of life. That’s the gracious issue. That’s the sole expectation. So our expectation is not ultimately that He’ll give us a better life or a new job or the gift of marriage or a perfect church or certain type of president or healing of our cancer or nicer body or better parents or even relief, but that our expectation is that God will answer in whatever form He deems best for us… so we can rest in the goodness of that. He’s going to answer our prayers, but we submit ourselves to the truth He’s going to answer in an infinitely better and wiser and greater way that we would ever ask! So we’re not demanding anything, insisting on anything, we just want to know God, trust God, glorify God. Isaiah 26:3-4: “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.”

  • So we’re thinking well as we sing, “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to know, it is well, it is well with my soul.”
  • So we’re thinking well as we confess, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have words of eternal life.”
  • So we’re thinking well as we live out our calling, “Whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we do all to the glory of God!”
  • So we’re thinking well as we proclaim to ourselves and others, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
  • So we’re thinking well as we praise God, “Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”
  • So we’re thinking well as we pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the power and glory forever and ever! Amen and Amen and Amen!”