God is about instructing us. “Instructing” comes from a Greek word, paideia — meaning faithful instruction of a believer for a whole person transformation.
I love that. No boxes to check. No stone unturned. Not selective grooming, but a total makeover inside and out. God is after the transformation of the whole person. Now look at this perhaps familiar scripture, and then let’s play “connect the dots.”
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philipians 4: 4-8 NKJV
What comes first? Rejoicing or worship. Transformation is always preceded by worship because we have to get our hearts aligned with Who Truth really is. After worship follows gentleness. Worship has a way of softening hard hearts, watering hard soil. Once the ground has been softened and hearts become gentle, truth can enter in. Who is entering? The Lord is at hand.
He is here among us so that we don’t have to be anxious. This is confidence, that God is among us and for us. So with confidence we can ask and believe. What comes next? His peace. A peace that acts as shield and covering for our hearts and minds, not our manufactured peace but the supernatural peace of Christ. And once the peace of God is in place, then comes focus. Focus of our thoughts, intentions and attitudes. God wants to instruct us to think about what we think about. Whatever is. . . true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue, praiseworthy, think on these things. This is God’s loving instruction to simply walk in truth, in God’s perspective on things.
Worship comes first, then gentleness, then confidence in Him, then peace, then focus. . . Meditate on these things.