“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 every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4: 4 – 9 NIV)
There are many key words and thoughts in this passage of scripture that are worth meditating upon and considering until they become a central focus of your inner being. The fact that we are three part beings leads to a constant communication problem or opportunity depending on your point of view. We are spiritual beings. Our spirits are the core of who we are. When we become Christians we confess that we have sinned and we also confess that Jesus is the Son of God. When we make this double confession we also ask God to forgive our sins and profess that we want to follow Jesus. When this happens we are born again, we become brand new creatures. At that point it is our spirit that is born anew. The central core of our being becomes new; our spirit is regenerated.
At that moment begins a process of growing into the “unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4: 13 NIV) Because we have become believers we have been given the power and authority to become daughters and sons of God. (John 1: 12: “Yet to all who did receive him to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God . . .”) At the time we are born again we begin the process of working out our salvation: “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2: 12, 13 NIV)
The reason for the fear and trembling is that we have the responsibility to allow God to apply what has been made new in our spirits to our souls (mind, will, and emotions) and to our bodies (our outward and observable physical presence). Please notice that I did not say that we have the responsibility to apply what has happened in our spirits to our souls and bodies. For us to do so is impossible; although many try to do just that. Our responsibility is not to do the work of transformation but to allow God to do the work of transformation. Note the scripture quoted above that completes the thought of working out our salvation: “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” The fear and trembling part is present because of the thought that at some point we might miss the opportunity to communicate with God in order to give Him permission to do the working out of our salvation. The fear and trembling is about somehow not keeping in constant communication. We get into trouble when we decide to take over God’s assignment to try to transform the mind. In Romans 12: 1, 2; we see another way of speaking of transformation. In this passage we are urged to present our outward being, our bodies, and living sacrifices, our true and proper worship, so that we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We understand from this that as we present to God our bodies for service; He renews our minds so that we are transformed from the pattern of the world; and we then will be able to hear God’s will for our lives.
The application of this renewal is accomplished by being in constant communication with God. Any anxiety is faced by praying and allowing God to care for us. We then become beings of peace and joy and exist in the atmosphere of renewal and transformation.