The Way - Day 146 (Philippians 4)

Daily Reading:
Philippians 4
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Paul desired to know Christ better, above all else. How does your desire in this area compare to Paul's? Pray specifically for an increased desire in this area of your life today.
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 55:22
OPTION 2: Proverbs 19:17
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:14-15
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Philippians 4 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Philippians 4:1-9
In Philippians 2:1-4, Paul had already challenged the church at Philippi to be clothed with humility, even pointing to the example of Jesus Christ humbling Himself to do the will of God. Now, Paul cites a specific incident which seems to be happening in the church at Philippi. There were two ladies named Euodia and Syntyche who were apparently involved in some type of conflict causing division within the church. Paul writes "I implore Euodia and Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord." Both women were very involved in the church because Paul mentions that "these women labored with me in the gospel...whose names are in the Book of Life." Since Paul writes that their names are in the Book of Life, these women were followers in Jesus Christ and would both inherit eternal life; however, this conflict existed between them. The advice Paul gives is very simple..."be of the same mind in the Lord." Although we do not know the details of their conflict, Paul urges them to be unified in the things which they agreed upon. Conflict is inevitable within the church, but there does not need to be ongoing division as a result of it. These women's disagreement does not seem to be over false teaching or sin, but some form of differing opinion. God asks us to agree on those things which are clearly stated in His word, but leaves room for differing viewpoints on secondary issues. Paul writes in Romans 14:17 that "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Some modern day churches put a lot of emphasis on external conformity and non-essentials so the things which are not necessarily mentioned in God's Word become more important than that which is very clear. We need to be united in the Lord in those things which God clearly emphasizes in His word, but leave room for disagreement in those things which are not close to God's heart. Personal conflict can be set aside when we practice humility instead of selfishness.

As he nears the end of his writing, Paul leaves his readers with some important things to practice in their daily walk. He has already talked much about enduring persecution and hardship while at the same time challenging the Philippians to actively demonstrate their faith with humility. Paul mentions four pointed areas which can provide stability in times of hardship. First, Paul urges them to "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice." Through personal experience, Paul knew life was hard, especially when a person is committed to following Jesus Christ. Preaching the gospel had landed Paul in a Roman prison, but his joy was not connected to his circumstances, but to his relationship with God. Circumstances will change, so our joy should never be dependent on them. Secondly, Paul wants his readers to "let your gentleness be known to all men...." The Philippians should treat others with respect and be patient with the shortcomings of others. Next, Paul advises them to pray (4:6-7). Worry is our natural response to that which we cannot control; however, prayer should be our first reaction. Prayer evidences our complete dependence on God. When we pray about worrisome circumstances, God does not promise to remove them, but He will provide the peace in our heart to cope (4:7). Lastly, Paul wants their minds to think about the right things (4:8-9). He specifically lists six things our minds should concentrate on - things that are true (God and His word), noble (that which is good), just (that which is right), pure (that which is moral), lovely (that which is kind or pleasurable), and things of good report (that which is respected). Paul tried to set an example of all the things which he had just mentioned and he wanted them to also follow him (4:9). As you closely examine your daily walk, are you rejoicing in adverse circumstances (4:4), demonstrating gentleness toward others (4:5), praying for God's peace (4:6-7), and meditating on the right things (4:8-9).

Philippians 4:10-23
Ending his letter on a very personal note, Paul takes the time to express his thankfulness for the generosity of the Philippian believers. They had sent him financial gifts when he was in Thessalonica and even desired to send him more but "lacked opportunity." Verses 15-16 make us aware that the Philippians were the only church supporting Paul's ministry "once and again for my necessities." They truly believed in the gospel message Paul was preaching and used whatever means necessary to assist him in his endeavor. Paul makes it clear that he never begged them to give, but they did it out of a heart of love. Whether they gave or not, Paul was content. Paul states "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, to be content. He goes on to say that he can live if he has a little or a lot (4:12). He was able to be content because His dependence was on Christ. Because of this attitude, Paul could say "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I believe this is a critical attitude which all followers of Christ must develop. Circumstances will provide good times and bad times, but our focus should be on gaining strength from God. In Philippians 4:19 Paul helps his readers understand that "my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Paul knew what it meant to experience all the good life has to offer, but he also knew what it meant to be disappointed with life. Contentment is the key to experiencing joy in the good times and the bad times. As we finish reading this wonderful letter, may we commit ourselves to being content with our life knowing that God will provide the strength to make it. God will supply everything we need in order to manage. The thing that kept Paul going was the hope he had in Jesus Christ and eternal life with God. Remain content during times of hardship remembering that you have hope beyond circumstances!

Dear God, I desire to be content in good times and bad times. May I experience Your strength so that I can do all things!