“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” Philippians 4:1
Paul loved these Philippians! He is about to end his letter and he starts “Therefore” – in light of all I have told you thus far, “my brothers”, “whom I love and long for”, “my joy and crown” – all very endearing terms! “Stand firm” – keep your eye on the prize, – on Jesus and you can only do that “in the Lord” -“my beloved” – another endearing term”. Hopefully, all of these loving terms made these Philippians listen up!
Paul then calls out a couple of women who couldn’t seem to get past an argument. Paul wants them to know to come to an agreement in the Lord. They may have to agree to disagree on whatever else it was they were arguing about but if they have their love for the Lord between them, the rest won’t matter. In other words if you have the Lord as far as the rest goes, get over it!
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;” Philippians 4:4-5
I wonder how many arguments and disagreements in the church and among fellow Christians could be done away with if we would just let reasonableness take over and agree in the Lord.
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
This is another much loved phrase penned by our friend Paul. It begins with a command – “do not be anxious about anything”. Oh how difficult that can be. It is hard for the person who just got the diagnosis, or the man who just lost his job, or the mom of that wayward child, or the ______ fill in the blank, to not be anxious. But that is what Paul is telling us here. Whatever your need, your hurt, your heartbreak is if we are in Christ, we are not supposed to be anxious about it. But “in everything by prayer and supplication” – we are to pray about it, we are to talk to God about it, we are to lay it at the feet of Jesus, and we are to ask – “supplication”. “With thanksgiving” – we ask with thankfulness, knowing that the one who holds us – holds our cares. We “let our requests be made known to God”. “And the peace of God, talking to our Father about it is what will give you peace even in the midst of your pain and your heartbreak, and it is a peace that “surpasses all understanding” and it is a guard for your heart and your mind. Laying your requests at his feet may not change your circumstances overnight, but it will bring you peace and it is the only thing in some circumstances that can be a guard for your heart and your mind.
Paul also gives us another step after we lay it all down to Jesus that will help us with the battlefield of the mind that goes along with whatever we are praying about.
“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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
Practically speaking even when we lay it down at Jesus feet, sometimes we still have to do hand to hand combat in our minds with the lies of the enemy. We have laid it at his feet and we are hoping for a quick fix, we want Jesus to fix it today and many times, most of the time that is not what happens. What I have learned when I am fighting the enemy in my mind, I have to do some very practical steps to combat the thoughts that will race through my mind. Paul says it here, “think about these things”, what is pure, lovely, commendable, think about any excellence, or anything you can think about that is worthy of praise. I do it with praise music, with christian podcasts or sermons. Even at times, they are going in the background of whatever else I am doing just to be sure that good thoughts are going through. It sounds so simple, I know but it can be so hard. But it is so necessary to do when you are going through something that is hard. Lay it at his feet, YES! Talk to your Father about whatever is on your heart and your mind and then do everything you can to fill your mind with good things! If you do these things, if you “practice these things” then the “God of peace will be with you.”
Oh sweet Jesus, we come to you today some of us with broken hearts. We ask you Lord to fix it, and we glory in the thoughts that you are taking what concerns us and you are going to fix it. But we also know that it will be in your time Lord. So for now, we are going to do our best to think lovely thoughts and we are going to praise you right through the storms that we are going through and what we can expect today is Your peace that will be with us and will carry us through this day!
Please pray for the educators and the students today. This is a hard school year. I am so glad I am not in charge of making any of those big decisions about school and how it should be happening. Let’s all give the ones making the decisions a little grace. Everyone is doing the best they can.