“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5, emphasis mine)
When it says “the Lord is at hand”, it means the God of the universe is in and among what you’re doing—by His Spirit. Pick through (if you feel so inclined) the finer points of Old Testament rules and see what happens when people weren’t circumspect in their behavior with reference to outward comportment (a lot of people died). I know that’s kind of redundant because “behavior” is “outward comportment” (look it up, though comportment tends to be more on the proud side) but things do tend to acquire a little more complexity the closer you get to the Lord. That might sound all sorts of wrong but God is the same now as He was back then. The difference that we enjoy in the present day-and-age is due to the fact that Jesus did everything right. Faith might be simple but it’s undergirded by a complexity we will never be able to fully wrap our minds around. All the hundreds of rules (see John 5:39) that the Pharisees thought somehow brought them closer to God did Jesus walk in perfectly and yet the Father still withdrew His attention and His presence and turned His back on His Son just before He died. Let’s back up a bit:
“Who (referring to Jesus), being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7 emphasis mine)
Seriously. When it says right there how Jesus “thought it not robbery to be equal with God”, it means He didn’t seek to go forward into this world using His inherent godhood as a bludgeon to get done what He (Jesus) wanted to do. This is why He could deflect the compliment of “good” back to His Father (see Luke 18:18-19), why He would constantly remind anyone listening of the ever-present-ness of His Father (in a word: omnipresence). He would tell people that “the Father…doeth the works.” (John 14:10), that “he (and she) that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (the verse prior). Everywhere He went and with every person who was blessed to interact with Him got the same spiel: We should be paying attention to the Father. And so when Jesus enters this world, anything He would have seen as part of His “reputation” He shed and simply moved forward at His Father’s behest. But how does this apply to us?
“I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 16:8)
I like this one for many reasons. A particular fancy of mine is having scriptures in mind whose references span both Old and New Testament. I hear this a lot in sermons and conversation how the writers of the New didn’t have the New (Testament) yet from which to draw and so anything in which they were rooting their writings necessarily came from the Old. So when one crops up in the writings of Paul (for instance, see Isaiah 64:4 and 1 Corinthians 2:9) or in the case of the above, Peter, it’s like a bridge between the two and some sort of circuit is completed. But this is my mind, mind you. Another of the reasons I think this verse is exceptional is because David is showing us what it takes to see the Father as does he. Luke, when writing Acts (narrating Peter) gives it a little different exposition: “For David speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, because He is at my right hand, that I should not be moved.” (Acts 2:25, emphasis mine) At least in the King James, there’s a little bit different spin on it. It would seem David saw God. But in the Psalm up there, it looks to be maybe that David deliberately made the effort to do so. And I think the two go hand in hand. Because the more effort we expend in seeing the Lord, the more will He show Himself to us. And He always does more than we (see Psalm 97:11. Ephesians 3:20-21). So moving forward, take stock. Think about the elements of your own representation—and like Jesus, reputation—and see if it’s directing the attention of those watching back to your heavenly Father. But wait! Don’t automatically think that it isn’t. Because the way you are and the way you look, were made and given to you by Him. People see through God’s eyes and also look at Him more than they know (see Genesis 1:26-27) and if you believe in Jesus (i.e. are a Christian), then there’s already something different about you. Play it up. Purify your heart (see Matthew 5:8) and God will shine through. For sure.
In closing, I would just like to point out that people are amazing. Regardless of how they look on the outside, there’s always something about them that is mind-blowingly amazing (“Really? You’re the first person to fold a piece of paper into an airplane and throw it? That’s awesome!”). But worship the Lord. The adulation is due Him. Think about what it takes to get like this:
“And they (Peter “and the other apostles”, verse 29) departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5:41)