Today we are going to finish up our week in Philippians 4: 4-14 by looking at the World in Front of the Text of this passage. What does this passage mean to our lives? Believe me, there is a lot that this passage can speak into our lives in this moment.
So much of what Paul tells us in this passage is what we think and about how we thing. So when it comes to prayer and peace, we are reminded to rejoice. Be joyous. Now there is a difference between “happiness” and “joy.” Happiness is circumstantial. It is based upon what is happening at this time and to be honest, is often quite fleeting. We can be happy whenever something good happens or sad whenever something bad happens. We can be joyous no matter what our circumstance is and that is what Paul is talking about here. He has joy, even though he is in prison. He is somewhere he didn’t want to be, somewhere that none of us would want to be. But yet, he has joy. Why? Because he takes all his concerns to the Lord. When he takes them to the Lord, he finds joy and he finds that peace that passes all understanding. But that joy and that peace did no magically happen. They happened only after he took everything to the Lord. Our prayer affects our thoughts and how we look at everything. Pray. Then joy and peace will find us. But they all start with the prayer. Prayer is the beginning of our life.
Next, we see something that maybe some of the most important words we will read this year: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” This is so, so important. What do you think about? Where does your mind go when it is just drifting? Are you thinking about whatever is good? Do you assume the best of people or the worst? Do you mind focus on things that are good, noble, and pleasing? Or does your mind focus on things that destructive, or wrong, or are belittling? We live in an age where we are trained, and frankly told, to think the worst about other people. About situations, about everything. Paul knows that this is destructive and not good for us. We have to have the discipline to think on the things that are good. We must control our thoughts. We must not let them run to the worst in other people or even in ourselves.
Today, think on whatever is possible. Where is your head at? Where does your mind go? We must think on the good things. That’s where peace is found. Today, what do you think about?
And our final “thought” is to understand perspective. Paul has had everything someone in his age could have. He has had power, he has had wealth, he has had it all. Now, he finds himself in prison, unable to go or do what he wants. He has had distress and friends are worried about him. But is ok. Why? Because he knows that he can do all things through Christ, who gives him strength. No matter what it is that he is facing, no matter what it is that he is going through, no matter what is happening, Paul has the assurance that it will all be ok. Why? Because he can do it through Jesus. No matter what. As I mentioned earlier this week, this passage is not so much a motivational verse as it is an assurance that we can handle any circumstance that comes our way, through Jesus. When He is our life and strength and shield, we will be ok.
No matter what challenge, no matter what possessions, no matter what happens, we can do it. How? Through Jesus. Today, no matter what you face, through Jesus, you can do it. Seriously. You can do it. Don’t give up. No matter what. Through Jesus, you will survive. You’ve got this.
Keep your mind on that. Think on what is good. Give it to God in prayer. Hold on to Jesus. Rejoice. God has this. We can have that confidence.
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