Reading For Thursday Philippians 4:2-9
Christians who have unresolved disagreements may hinder the cause of Christ. Dissension interrupts unity and peace. The church must proclaim the gospel but she must also guard herself against quarrels within. We must strive to be slow to take offense and always eager to forgive one another. Paul asks a faithful companion and this community of faith to help these women be reconciled to one another. We must continually pursue peace and one another in love. They were in conflict, but they had labored with Paul for the sake of the gospel. It does not seem that there was a moral or doctrinal issue because it stands to reason that Paul would have addressed it as he did in other places. Conflict is a part of relationships and we must walk humbly in a spirit of love.
Paul instructs the church to rejoice in the Lord. Joy is not just some call to happy optimism that has no justification. John Piper defines joy this way:
Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world.
We should seek to be gracious and kind to everyone. Jesus is imminent so we need not be filled with anxiety. We have the privilege of bringing our problems and needs to the Lord with the confidence that he cares for them and he is sufficient. It is with thanksgiving that we come because we remember how gracious God has been to us. Those who come to Jesus will find peace and rest for their souls as that peace guards their hearts and minds. It is a glorious peace from the Lord that can be found even in the midst of chaos, difficulty, and conflict.
Finally, Paul suggests that thinking about the right things will help maintain that peace. We should think about:
- True things that correspond to God’s Word.
- Honorable things that have dignity and moral excellence.
- Just things that conform to God’s ethics.
- Pure things that are free of sin.
- Lovely things that are attractive and winsome like generosity, kindness, or compassion.
- Commendable things that foster an admirable reputation and a good name.
If it is excellent or praiseworthy, we should think about it.
Paul concludes this section with these instructions:
“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 4:9, ESV)
Paul has calls these readers to follow his example as he did on previous occasions in the book of Philippians. This call to practice what has been learned, received, heard, and seen is the essence of discipleship; follow me as I follow Christ. We are called to show the world what Jesus is like by the way that we live.
Things To Consider:
- How should we handle conflict with another believer?
- Why is divisiveness in the church so dangerous?
- What is the aim of confronting conflict?
- Is joy different from happiness? Why?
- Do you regularly remember that Jesus is at hand? What can you do to promote this belief in your life?
- How should we deal with anxiety?
- How can we love others who struggle with being anxious?
- Do you regularly speak with God? Why or why not?
- What are some things you can do to grow in your prayer life?
- Do you thank God when he answers your prayer?
- How do we train our minds to think on the things Paul suggests?
- Do you have peace right now? Why or why not?