This week we finished our series on Philippians. We saw last week in Philippians 4:4 Paul tells the church to rejoice in the Lord. Again Paul emphasises the theme of joy and rejoicing that we see throughout this book. Paul wants the church to realise that joy doesn’t depend on circumstances. Even in the midst of trials we are called to be joyful because we know Jesus.
In Philippians 4:6 we see that the solution to anxiety is seeking God. Being anxious is not just having a concern or a care about a person or a problem, it’s when we continually dwell on that. Paul calls the church to bring everything to God, to seek God.
The prayer Paul is talking of is a heart communion with a loving Father who desires what is best for us. That is the type of prayer that will keep us from anxiety and we will experience the peace of God which is beyond our understanding because it is not dependent on circumstances, it is peace in the midst of chaos and confusion. It’s peace that comes from knowing God is in control.
Paul continues by telling the church how to direct their thoughts. He tells them that in everything they are to look for the good. If you have a dispute with someone focus not on the dispute but look for the common ground, look for what is right. If you are suffering look for God’s perspective and what is changing in you that is of value. In each and everything you face, let what you think about be shaped by God. It can be easy to be consumed by negative thoughts, to see the bad, it takes effort to see what is good.
Paul points out that he is content whatever the circumstances. It’s an important principle for us to learn. Paul is content because of Christ in him. We look at what it means to be content, it’s not complacency, it’s not from having or achieving everything we think we want. It’s not something that comes naturally, we like Paul, have to learn it. Real contentment is working to glorify God, serve others, and further the kingdom of God in everything we do. Contentment comes from living in the light of eternity.
Paul thanks the Philippian church for their gifts to him. Paul knows that part of God’s sufficiency for him comes through other people. God has called us into relationship not just with Him but also with other people. We are part of a community. It is important to acknowledge and appreciate what others do to help us.He also points out an important principle which is that giving blesses the giver.
Paul closes with praying what we all need. Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.