1. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
2. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
3. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
5. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Phillipians has to be my most favorite book of the Bible. In times of despair and discouragement, the letter to the believers at Phillipi has been the place that I turn to, time and time again. When our pastor asked us to turn there today, I was excited! So, below is a synopsis of what I learned or was reminded of today.... hopefully, it will be an encouragement to your soul, as it was to mine!
- If any people in the world should be joyful, it is believers. We have the ultimate hope in Christ Jesus.
- In verse 4, Paul does not give a "good suggestion", rather he gives a command to "Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say rejoice." He must have thought that people would say, "But you don't know my situation. You don't know the trouble I'm dealing with. You wouldn't expect me to be joyful in this situation..." Paul repeats it for a reason. It's as if he says, "I know that what you are dealing with is difficult, but you must rejoice in the Lord to overcome your trouble..."
- So what about my problems?? vs. 6 answers that question..."Be careful (literally translated, anxious care) for nothing, but by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God." We are instructed to not be anxiously caring about anything... wow.... but submit our cares to God through prayer, while being thankful....talk about discipline. To retrain our thoughts to not dwell on our problems, but to automatically give them to God, while being thankful??? I've got a long way to go!
- In case we are inclined to think that our trouble is more than Paul dealt with, read 2 Cor. 11:23-30... that will straighten out our thinking very quickly!
- Faith is the victory to overcome any of our problems.
- Mark 7:37- He does all things well...
- Are we standing on the promises of God, or pouting on the premises?
- How do I feel joy in the midst of my defeat? God has made provisions for our defeat. "God's grace is sufficient..." He knew we would fail! So why are we so upset when we fail? Because we didn't think we would fail... Our deliverance is not in how good we are, rather in how good God is...
- God wants to demonstrate His strength in our times of trouble. He wants us to say "I would never have gotten through that without the Lord."
- The same Spirit that saved me is the same Spirit that frees me from sin, daily.
- How do I avoid defeat?? I must change what I am thinking about. vs. 8: Think on these things: things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report...
To put it all together....
When we choose to rejoice in the Lord, we don't ignore the existence of our problems. We acknowledge the existence of God's presence.