Today wraps up Paul’s letter to the Philippians sometimes referred to as the epistle or letter of joy. Paul’s love for the church at Philippi is clear; they became lifelong friends and supporters of his work. Much is said in this short book about the attitude of humility and service we should live with as followers of Christ
It’s hard to believe sometimes that problems can occur within the church. We should be the most joy filled, compassionate, merciful people on the face of the earth, and yet, misunderstandings can often lead to hurt and broken relationships if we aren’t careful. In the last chapter of Philippians, Paul pleads with two women within the church to mend their relationship and asks for the help of another within that community. Our relationships are so important that Jesus even tells us that if we are about to give an offering and remember that someone has something against us, go and make it right and then come back and give. (See Matthew 5:23-24) Relationships matter.
Paul goes on to talk about rejoicing in the Lord, always, not just when things are going our way, but always. We are instructed to let our gentleness be evident to all. He assures us that the peace of God that is beyond comprehension will guard our hearts and minds if we take everything to Him in prayer and leave it there. He also tells us that what we focus on matters – the things that we allow our hearts and minds to dwell on make a real difference in the way that we view the world around us and how we live our lives. This is much more than the power of positive thinking – this is about focusing on God’s truth and the goodness that comes from a relationship with Him and the beauty that He has created all around us. As bad as the world seems, good can still be found and we are to focus on that because God is in that good.
I love the practicality of Philippians. There’s so much for us to work on within these four chapters. I hope that you will take some time as we wrap it up to highlight some areas that God may be speaking to you about, things that He may want you to work on in the weeks ahead. God’s word is living and active and because of that, it convicts us of the areas that we fall short of His best. His desire is always for us to become more and more like Jesus in our thoughts and actions.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach