Four actions for today! Read Philippians 4:1-9
STAND FIRM. Paul begins this fourth chapter with, "Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord." The "therefore" refers back to what he has written about in chapter 3. There he is talking about running a race, seeing life as an obstacle course. Paul writes how he runs this race by pressing on to the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He is urging others to run with him. But in the opening verse of chapter four he now says, "STAND FIRM". It sounds confusing as to which he means for us, whether to run the race or to stand firm. One is a picture of extreme effort, the other of immobility, inaction. How can we then follow this call to standing firm and yet running?
Here is a marvelous setting forth of the paradox of the Christian faith. For life is indeed a swiftly moving obstacle race. But the secret of running the race successfully, the apostle tells us, is learning how to stand firm and hold on to this unchanging God. We have enemies to face. But if we are certain that we have already won the victory in Jesus, then we have nothing to fear, and our confidence proves to our enemies that they have already lost! Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Eph 6:13. Make no mistake!
REJOICE. Vs 4 Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice, this emphasis is the mark of spiritual maturity. We should celebrate God every day and be thankful for what He has done. If there is anything in your life that you can thank God for, just do it, do it loud and proud so that everyone can hear. And if we don’t have something, just knowing that God is Almighty, and no situation is beyond His control is a cause for celebration. We need to rejoice in the Lord by not looking at our situation but look at the Lord and all the good He has done. Psalm 35:9, “And my soul shall rejoice in the Lord; It shall exult in His salvation.”
Next, HAVE NO ANXIETY. Vs 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Worry is a powerful force to disintegrate the human personality, leaving us frustrated, baffled, bewildered by life. Sometimes you hear the expression: "sick with worry", and anyone who has experienced it knows it is no empty expression. Paul's answer to this is blunt, "Have no anxiety about anything." You can't stop it just by the exercise of will power. The next secret of running the race is: "In everything by prayer and thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
In "everything", that means there is nothing too small to bring to him. Prayer is the expression of our dependence upon his promises. A continual recognition that you need to lean back upon His grace and strength. Thanksgiving is that forward look of faith that thanks God for the answer before you see it. Knowing his character, you know something will be done! Vs7 And, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This peace, sustains and strengthens the heart and keeps it peaceful even in the midst of the pressures, demands and annoyances of life.
Lastly, FILTER YOUR THINKING. Vs 8 "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS. This is a deliberate choice of the will to refuse to think about the negative, but to think about the ‘good and Godly’ in any situation, or about any person. Proverbs 4:23, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life" Paul understood the influence of thoughts upon our lives. What you allow to occupy your mind will sooner or later drive your speech and actions. Paul laments that those who "set their minds on earthly things" (3:19) are "enemies of the cross of Christ" (3:18). If there is any excellence, it is found in Jesus. So, abide in Him.
Dear heavenly Father, I confess that I have forgotten to stand still and know that you are God. Increase my confidence in You, O God, so that I can stand firm in adversity and display to the world the certainty of my faith in you. I pray that I may take up the full armour of God and resist all the works of the enemy in this evil day in which we live. Help me walk in spirit and truth, surrender my thoughts and rejoice being clothed in Christ's own righteousness- to Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.