Monday 3rd October 2022

PHILIPPIANS 4

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  Rejoice!” (v4).  Paul echoes the voices of the Psalms in encouraging us to verbalise and harmonise our praise to the Lord.  Spoken and sung praise and thanksgiving is a vital part of our worship and devotion.  Do it corporately and individually; do it regularly – do it all the time.  Just do it!

Are you an anxious person?  The antidote to anxiety is persistent prayer, petition (asking), mingled with thanksgiving.  “Cast those anxieties on the Lord” – as Peter said (1 Peter 5:7) – because He is stronger than you are.  If you do this, then you will also receive the ‘Shalom’ or ‘Peace’ of God.  This is something way beyond psychological wellbeing; it is a tranquillity of the spirit that goes even beyond the rational mind.  You might as well be in the middle of a tropical storm and yet reclining in the sunshine at its centre.  That’s the peace of God!

Thoughts are the food of the mind – and you become what you feed your mind on.  Therefore, Paul says:  “…Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (v8).  The way we choose to think (and, yes, it is a free choice!) is eventually the way we begin to live; you are what you eat, as the saying goes.

Paul is also so confident that he is following the mind of the Spirit in his daily life that he commands his readers: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me – put it into practice.”  Wouldn’t it be great if we could all say that with a clear conscience!

The remainder of this chapter seems to be an extended ‘thank you’ letter; the church at Philippi was generous in spirit and took the initiative in its generosity.  We need both to be effective.  Paul clearly differentiates between his need to receive their gift and their need to give it.  From God’s point of view, their gift is something that He credits to their spiritual bank account!  As a result of their generosity, God will meet all their needs too – earthly and heavenly.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit!

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