Read Philippians 4
Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity
1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks for Their Gifts
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, Rejoice!”
Really, Paul? Rejoice ALWAYS? At all times? In every circumstance? That feels impossible sometimes. Yet, Paul makes a connection in Philippians 4 that we find throughout Scripture: what we meditate on affects our behavior and attitude. Much of the Christian life comes down to the battle for the mind. Behavior follows belief.
So many of us spend our whole lives longing for peace of mind. Others of us spend our whole lives asking God to bring peace to our anxious heart, to settle our emotions. Don’t miss the instruction Paul gives us: pour it all out to God, not just in prayer but in petition. Two, similar but distinct directives. Prayer is all of our communication with God, but petition (or supplication) specifically asks God to do something. He wants you to tell Him everything. He knows anyway.
Giving over to Him in prayer and petition gives way for His peace to guard our heart and our mind. If we want the peace that passes all understanding, we have to discipline our minds to dwell on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable. We have to feed our minds what is praiseworthy and excellent because what we feed grows. Because…behavior follows belief.
It’s why Paul was able to exclaim, “Rejoice always. Rejoice!” His belief informed his attitude. After all, he knew and believed he could do anything through Christ who gave him the strength.
So can we. Let’s rejoice in that today!
- What do you meditate on? What do you think about most? How does it compare to what Paul calls us to think about?
- What is Paul’s secret of being content? What can you learn from it?
- What do you learn from Paul’s example that you need to “put into practice?” (Vs. 9)
Did You Know?
It’s important to remember Paul’s situation as he’s imploring the Philippians to rejoice. At the time he was writing this he was in prison after being wrongfully arrested, shipwrecked, snake-bitten, and under house arrest. It wasn’t a flippant statement, but encouragement based on his own experiences.