“Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything…” (Philippians 4:5–6, CSB)
Last week, Paul gave us a counter-intuitive command: Rejoice in the Lord always. Even in difficult situations, we can rejoice because God is in control, and His character is love. Now the Apostle gives us another interesting command.
Paul commands, “Let your graciousness be known to everyone.” That Greek word translated “graciousness” means something like stable, reasonable, steadfast. Now, remember the context here: We’re talking about worry. When we find ourselves in a situation that is negative, worrisome, or stressful, we are tempted to freak out, to lose it, to come unhinged. Paul tells us to have poise, to keep our cool. He’s describing a person who, despite difficulty, mistreatment, injustice, or disgrace, nevertheless trusts God.
And…just in case we need the reminder…people are watching. Paul wants the world to see our stability. People watch our lives when things go well, but they really pay attention to our response when things don’t go well for us. Most of us respond to stress by blowing up, lashing out, or controlling others. A few of us have the ability to act like a duck when things go sideways. We are calm on the surface but are paddling furiously under water. We might look calm, but we’re freaking out on the inside. Neither is what God’s after. True poise is a genuine stability in the midst of worrisome circumstances. That’s what God wants for us.
It brings us back to the definition of worry. The word merimnao literally means “double-minded.” Remember, James tells us that the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (see James 1:8). Paul’s telling us, “Rejoice and keep your head about you.” Trust God and you WILL be stable in your response, gracious in how you treat people, steadfast as you resist trying to control others or circumstances, and even reasonable in how you post on Facebook.
If you want to know what God says about keeping your cool, I hope you’ll join us Sunday for “The Power of Poise.”