Rejoice in the Lord; Be anxious for nothing; Dwell on these things
Philippians 4:4-23 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Paul ends his letter to the Philippian church with encouragement and exhortation in walking out their faith. The text begins: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! This is more than just a catchy phrase coming from Paul. It is a powerful truth which Paul himself has learned through the trials and tribulations he faced. In Acts 16 there is an account of a time when Paul and Silas were imprisoned for preaching the gospel. Verses 22-26 tell us what happened: The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. Rather than complain and grumble about their circumstance, Paul and Silas praised God. It’s not that we praise Him for the problems and the difficult times, but rather we praise God in those times. We rejoice, not in the trials, but we rejoice in the Lord. The psalmist says: Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3) Our praise takes us to the throne of God. Hebrews 4:16 says: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Rejoicing in the Lord, in our difficulties, is a key to our finding God’s grace and mercy, His help for our need.
Paul continues: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Jesus Himself encourages us not to worry. In Matthew 6:25-33, He says: “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Of course there are times when we are concerned about circumstances. We are unsure of what the outcome of things may be. As believers though, we need to realize that worry and doubt, fear and anxiety are roots of sin in our lives. Revelation 21:8 says: “But for the cowardly(fearful) and unbelieving(doubters) and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Fear, doubt, worry and anxiety is believing more in what we don’t want than what we do want. We are saved by faith in Christ. Hebrews 12:2 says: fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith We should not look at the things which cause fear and doubt to rise up in us rather we should look at Jesus.
Looking at Jesus, we then do as Paul encourages: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. God alone matches all the criteria Paul lays out. He alone is all of those things, so it is in and on Him alone we should dwell. The psalmist says: Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) In Psalm 91, the psalmist declares and rejoices in the protection and provision of God. He begins saying: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. It is in dwelling in God’s presence, in thinking of and dwelling on His goodness, His honor, His righteousness, His worthiness that we come to know and experience His peace, His protection and His provision.
Again, Paul asks nothing of the church that he himself has not done. He says: I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. If we too will have that same confidence and trust, faith in Jesus, who is our strength, regardless of the circumstance, then we too, will walk in the blessing Paul proclaims to the church: And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen