Friday, January 29, 2010

Philippians 4

Philippians 4 - Passage Lookup - New American Standard Bible -

Paul ends the epistle with gentle, but pointed, encouragement in the faith. I suppose this is the very definition of the word encouragement. It 1) has a point. There is a goal--the other's benefit. Paul wants to stimulate a positive behavior in the Philippians. And 2) it is gentle. True encouragement is all about the relationship. Paul knows his audience. It becomes very clear as you read this chapter that Paul truly knows the Philippians. Hence, he knows what tone of voice will work for them. Too many times believers instruct one another without taking into account the personality of the other person, so it is taken wrong. People end up offended and hurt. That is not true encouragement, that is chastisement and there certainly is a place for that. But Paul here wants to encourage the Philippians in a few areas.

1. Be of one mind. The KJV uses the term yokefellow here, bringing to mind the image of 2 beasts united together with one purpose--to serve a master. Paul states that divisions and strife should not be the norm in the assembly. They should be rare. The two ladies had previously been united in their work for the Gospel, but something happened. Paul makes it clear, to be united with Christ invariably leads to unity with one another. Trivial matters fade and real issues can be resolved. Remember the seven unities of the Spirit.

2. Be joyful. It is no wonder that the joy has gone from this assembly. Where there are strivings and discord, where is the room for joy? There is none. We cannot be joyful until we find ourselves right with Christ and then right with our brothers. After that, joy should flow through us. Remember the fruit of the Spirit includes joy.

3. happy. That comes after "Don't worry..." Paul says, "Be anxious for nothing." We have the mightiest power in the universe bending over to hear our requests and take care of us. Why should we worry and be anxious? Just let Him handle it! Obviously, we can never be freed from our natural tendencies to be concerned over certain issues as long as we are in these mortal circumstances. But when concern begins to impair us, we know that we have held it too far. Remember that peace is also a fruit of the Spirit.

4. Be holy. We have been called apart. We have been given special favor and with this favor we have also been commanded to live up to our high calling. Throughout the book we find little pointers on dealing with our mind, here Paul states it outright. He tells us what the litmus test is for our thoughts. What kinds of things should be entertaining our minds? What should we meditate / dwell on? Let the Spirit exercise self-control.

Paul ends the book by giving his personal thank-yous to the Philippians. He acknowledges their concern for him as well as their actions on his behalf. The church in Philippi was the only one to give Paul financial / physical support at one point in time! Way too often we are with a cause in sentiment, but not with our wallets. What greater cause to join than the Gospel of Christ? May we be able to put our money where our mouth is like the Philippians, and store up treasures in heaven.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

Mailing List