Be Content Always

Because our lives constantly change, we cannot rely on our circumstances to define our attitude. Instead we need to be defined by who Christ is and who we are in Him. Paul presents an authentic picture of contentment in Phil. 4:10-14 and exhorts us to rejoice and rest in God no matter what’s going on in your life.

Part 19 of a whole book study series called “Joy in Christ: A Study Through Philippians.”

Find the whole series in Philippians here.

Paul begins a small section spanning verses 10 through 19 with a twofold purpose: 1) to rejoice in God for His material provision through the believers at Philippi, and 2) to confirm his contentment despite fluctuating and difficult circumstances. The concept of rejoicing in the Lord and contentment at all times is connected with his exhortations of not being anxious and of having a godly thought life.

Love Expressed

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.

Paul said earlier, during his writing about Epaphroditus, that the Philippian believers had not had the chance to serve Paul through financial support. He renews the feeling of that here, affirming to these brothers and sisters in Christ that he is aware of their love for him. His confidence in that love was present with or without their support, but they did express it that way. He was particularly glad of it because he knew their motivation sprang from their relationship in Christ. It was not simply that they felt they had some obligation to “do good” or “give money” (related: 2 Cor. 9:5-7). Continue reading

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A Godly Thought Life

A countless number of thoughts pass through our minds each day — and yet how many are of eternal value? In Phil. 4:8-9, Paul presents facets of godly thinking and motivates us to consider carefully what we think, say, and do in light of who we are in Christ.

Part 18 of a whole book study series called “Joy in Christ: A Study Through Philippians.”

Find the whole series in Philippians here.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Even as believers in Christ, we can sometimes have the human tendency to allow our natural thinking to overcome biblical thinking. In the previous two verses, Paul  explained how God would guard our hearts and minds with peace as we brought all things to Him.

He now gives eight different aspects of godly and Christ-like thinking (I’ll give more attention to some more than others and certainly not in any wholly comprehensive way given the limitations of the post!). I think you’ll find that this is not simply a laundry list of words, but an intertwined set of characteristics to be seen in a believer. Continue reading

The Answer to Anxiety

In a way, our battle with anxiety comes down to a few simple questions: do we believe God or not? Do we believe He is sovereign over our lives or not? In Phil. 4:4-7, we find Paul exhorting us to bring all things to the Lord in prayer at all times because He is a God we can trust absolutely.

Part 17 of a whole book study series called “Joy in Christ: A Study Through Philippians.”

Find the whole series in Philippians here.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Remember — Paul was a prisoner awaiting trial that could potentially have led him to his death as he wrote this letter. And yet he still implores the Philippian believers to rejoice, despite his own personal circumstances; from a worldly standpoint, he had little cause for rejoicing!

In a certain sense, this exhortation to rejoice connects with Paul’s exhortation to rejoice in Philippians 3:1. And at the same time, it is part of his closing words and continues the thematic imperative to joy threaded throughout the letter.

It’s significant to reflect on the word always here. Consider: how difficult is it to rejoice in the Lord in the midst of a loss, grief, sickness, or other life chaos? Tough, right? We tend to let our emotions and feelings rule us in those times. It’s not that we shouldn’t have emotions and feelings; we were created with them. But we need the ability — based on our knowledge of God’s word — to be able to tell ourselves the biblical truth in spite of what we may feel at the time. We need constant reminders of what it is we have that goes beyond these temporal struggles and looks past these earthly pains. Continue reading