In yesterday’s post I mentioned that these last 2 chapters in Paul’s letter to the Philippians have verses that I memorized and use every day. I hope that you’ll take them for yourself as they are pillars of Christian living.
From 2008 – 2010, I was unemployed. God led me to these passages to help me understand that I needed to trust in Him only. I can’t rely on myself, people, or the government — only Jesus. One day in church a friend came up to me and handed me an envelope. I didn’t open it until I got home. In it were 2 $50 bills. Instantly, without even thinking about it, I took one of those bills to a neighbor who I knew was also struggling with finding work. He had a wife and 2 kids. I handed him the $50 and told him, “God told me to give this to you”. Later he came by to thank me and told me that he was able to pay the electric bill and prevent the power from being shut off.
Paul knew the Philippians were dealing with several problems. Besides false teachers, they also had conflicts among the members. He addresses that here. But most importantly, is the words of encouragement — words that never grow old and are pertinent for us today…
Philippians Chapter 4
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!
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Here Paul says again, “stand firm in the Lord“. The only way to do that is to be rooted in the word. If we have strong roots in God’s word — the Bible — then when we’re attacked, when we hear false teachings, when we face life’s hardships, we can handle it.
I’ve seen churches split because of petty disagreements. I’ve covered some of them in the recent series I did. There were schisms caused by arguing over what type of bread to use in communion! What does it matter?! We’re supposed to be on the side of the gospel, preaching the gospel, along with all “co-workers” whose names are in the book of life. Is your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Praying for Shalom
I pray these verses every night. I’ve told the story of when I was unemployed and my church was holding a 24/7 prayer event. I prayed for an hour — not thinking I could find enough to pray about — and afterwards, I felt this incredible peace. I proved verse 7 really works. That’s why I pray it every night so I could have peace to sleep.
I use the Hebrew word for peace — shalom. I pray, “And the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard my heart and my mind in Messiah Yeshua” — Hebrew for Jesus Christ. I pray God’s word back to Him. It works!
8 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Usually we let our minds rule our hearts. What do you think about? What do you let into your mind? That covers social media, TV, movies, gaming, music, books, videos, etc. Do they fit the list?
Now that’s something to think about!
Then Paul says to put into practice what he’s taught them. Hey, that’s means reading the Bible and obeying what it says! No ifs, ands, or buts!
Being Content with What You Have
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
During my 2 years of unemployment, I lost my house that I had just renovated, ended up living in a friend’s spare bedroom, then a bug-infested apartment, until I eventually got a job and got back on my feet. These passages taught me to be content with what I have no matter the circumstances. Corrie Ten Boon, who spent some time in a German concentration camp where her sister died, all because she helped Jews by hiding them in her house said…
“You’ll never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”Corrie Ten Boon
We can be content even in hard times when we focus on Jesus — in the Lord. No one else. Not Mary, not a priest, not a church, not the saints — JESUS! As Paul says in verse 13…
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (NIV) (Another version — NLT– reads: For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.)
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
And I’m going to end with this prayer for you…
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.