-Paul’s final exhortation, encouragement, and prayer in chapter four begins with a plea to stand firm. A personal note follows to Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord along with other fellow workers whose names are in the book of life (Psalm 69:28, Philippians 4:1-3, Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). Paul repeats his encouragement for rejoicing always. He tells them to let their forbearing spirit be epieikas (gentle, kind, reasonable, gracious, yielding, tolerant) because the Lord is near (Philippians 4:4-5). He then gives some of the best advice in all of Scripture. He tells his readers to be anxious (unduly concerned, worried) for nothing, but in everything by prayer (communication with God) and supplication (an entreaty unto God, a crying out) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which goes far beyond our comprehension and understanding, will guard (protect, keep) your hearts and your minds IN Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). *Application* Why is it so hard for us to have peace and joy and kindness and gentleness in this world without all the anxiety and fear and worry and fretting? It has everything to do with our absence of faith in these times. Peace can ultimately come when we are in the presence of God through prayer and supplication and giving of thanks despite any grievous perception of hardships or difficulties. Our outlook matters and we must remember that the Lord is always near, right at the door knocking (Revelation 3:20), and He wants to come IN and give us rest from our struggles. My friend, seek the peace of God and all His wonderful and astounding benefits. This is the key to unlocking the gift of contentment, which Paul is about to expound upon.
-Paul now gives us a list of things to meditate on and think about as we go through life. Dwell your heart and mind on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable (appealing), excellence, and praiseworthy. Practice these things Paul says and follow his example as he follows Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17; 4:8-9, Hebrews 6:12). *Application* The battle for the soul begins and ends in the mind. As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Put your mind in the right place in surrender to the Lord and He will grant you all you need for righteousness and peace (2 Peter 1:3, 1 John 2:27).
-Paul now explains the contented life through all of its ups and downs. Paul had been brought low and he had abounded; he had plenty and hunger, abundance and need (Philippians 4:11-12). In whatever circumstance or situation he was in he had learned to be content without want. This is why he can now say that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him (Philippians 4:13). He makes mention of their kindness and generosity, which will be applied to their credit in the Kingdom of God where every need is supplied according to the riches in glory in Christ Jesus. He is to be given glory forever and ever. Paul says good bye to his beloved with grace and greeting from those with him including members of Caesar’s household (this to me is a proof that Paul wrote from Rome). He wanted their spirits to be content and at perfect rest even though he was in prison. This was the all consuming love Paul had for his people (Philippians 4:14-23). *Application* Contentment is a hard thing to find in this American culture that we find ourselves a part of. We always seem to want more and more, but things and successes and selfish abundance only compound the problems we have within ourselves. Be happy with what you do have and the blessings that have been bestowed to you rather than worrying or stressing about what you don’t have. Godliness with content is a means of great gain (1 Timothy 6:6-11). Be content even in the tough times and have grace to endure in whatever suffering the Lord allows you to go through. This is good stuff to live by from the Word of God!
Verse to Memorize- Philippians 4:4, 6-7, 11, 13, 19