“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!” (Phil. 4:1 NIV)
Stand firm by rejoicing always.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Phil. 4:4 NIV)
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is packed with useful scripture. In chapter four, Paul is wrapping things up. He’s giving them his final words of advice as he continues with his ministry. He starts with rejoicing. Why:
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Phil. 4:5 NIV)
Rejoicing shows the Lord is near.
Paul encourages us to rejoice because it shows how close God is. How do we rejoice when life is closing in on us? Paul gives us the answer:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7 NIV)
If you memorize one scripture in 2020, I highly recommend this one. Paul’s instruction gives us the key to finding God’s peace.
- Pray: start talking to God
- Praise: thank God for what He is doing in your life
- Present: honestly tell God everything, good and bad
- Peace: as you release cares to God, let His peace transcend you
Following Jesus is not a formula, but structure helps our conversations with God. Often, people struggle with praying. They are unsure of how to talk to God. The above verses give us a plan to follow. What this helps us do is focus our thoughts on God. Worldly problems try to distract us from the One who has all of the answers. Prayer helps us focus our attention back on God. Paul gives us a guideline on how to connect with God.
And then he tells us what to think about:
“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.” (Phil. 4:8 NIV)
Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive.
In every situation, find something real and noble. Look for the things Paul tells us to think about, and you’ll find them. Sometimes we have to look harder than others. But if we focus our eyes on Jesus, we’ll see what we’re looking for: hope.
Life’s tragedies are many. Our hope is in Jesus. We have to work to stay focused on His promises. When we apply Paul’s teachings to our lives, we’ll succeed in our mission.
Pray, Praise, Present, Peace. You’ll stand firm in adversity if you do.
Question of the Day:
How can Paul’s words help you stand firm?
Further Reading: Jeremiah 1:1-2:30 NIV, Philippians 4 NIV, Psalm 75 NIV, Proverbs 24:17-20 NIV