The final leg in my (very slow) study of the book of Philippians!
Last time, I wrote on what I learned about living for Him from chapter 1, living like Him from chapter 2 and living to know Him from chapter 3. I’m wrapping up this series with what I learned about living content in Him from chapter 4.
The first passage covers verses 1-9 which talks about rejoicing and peace/contentment.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.Philippians 4:4-5 CSB
Paul reminds us again to rejoice always. Rejoice in the lord; meaning that God is the source of our joy. We rejoice because we have salvation; our names are written in heaven.
That joy in the Lord enables us to be gracious, reasonable, and gentle with everyone. Everyone. Not just other believers but with ALL people. I realize that can be difficult, but Paul tells us how that is possible.
He reminds us that God is near. We’re not orphans left to our devices, left to fend for ourselves, or doing this life on our own. We have access to the Father right now and are invited to approach boldly. He hears and answers our prayers according to His will.
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 CSB
When we’re concerned or troubled, have need of any kind and in any circumstance, we should go to God about that. But with the right posture. One of humility and thankfulness because we’re not entitled, but also confident in His goodness and generosity. He then gives us His peace which guards our hearts and minds.
His peace guards our hearts from being afraid or anxious. It guards our minds from negative or harmful thoughts. With His peace in our hearts and minds, we’re then able to be gentle or gracious towards others, regardless of how they are towards us.
Verses 12-13, in the second passage, are favourites of mine.
In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:12-13 CSB
Paul is saying that his happiness or contentment is not dependent on his circumstances. His secret is leaning on the strength of Christ.
This is something that he had to learn which I found encouraging. I think most of us are very familiar with these verses. But it’s not enough to know, we have to believe it. We have to be in situations where we need to practice contentment in order for our hearts to be transformed.
Throughout this study of Philippians, I’ve referred to commentary by John Piper. I found it very helpful; not just the commentary itself but how he digs into and exposits the Word. For this passage, he provided some tips on how to live this secret that Paul learned. If I could sum it up, I would say the following.
God gives us both abundance and misery. We should receive both with gladness because we know and trust that He uses all for good. Whatever we are given serves a purpose. We shouldn’t focus on either because they do not compare to the ultimate gift and treasure that is Christ Jesus.
I hope you were encouraged by this series. Check out the commentary by John Piper on DesiringGod.org for Philippians. These planner spreads were created using the Sophisticated Florals sticker book by The Happy Planner. I also used floral stickers from OClaresCreations on Etsy for the final spread. See the video below for how it comes together.
I hope you’re encouraged to live with contentment in Christ and to dig into His word yourself.
Joy & Peace, Sister!