[CF Devotionals] 2003-11-23 - Philippians

Part 34

  1. The Secure Mind - Cont'd.

    Verses 4-7: It is easy to fall into worry about problems within the body, like its my personal responsibility instead of the Lord's. But Paul has a response to discouragement and worry. It is a command to rejoice. Now what is the basis for the rejoicing within the body? Well it certainly isn't that things are going smoothly all the time. And it isn't the peace and unity, which seems to be being tested at the moment. The rejoicing is to be in the Lord, a product of the individual's relationship with God.

    How can we do anything other than rejoice, when we know God loves and cares for us? How can we do anything other than rejoice, when we know the all powerful God, the One who can do all things is willing to use us to advance His kingdom? If the basic needs of all people are relationship and impact, then we must rejoice, because we have access to the ultimate relationship, our relationship with God and the ultimate opportunity for impact, to serve Him in whatever circumstances He places us.

    Because we can rejoice, because we can hold the ups and downs in proper perspective, we can be gentle, as we allow God to be the One who is responsible for our needs. Our only responsibility is to be obedient to Him. The idea of gentleness here is a quality that is consistent with the practice of agape. We will be free from the loss of joy through circumstances, people, things and worry. And if you don't think it will be obvious there is something significantly different between us and the world, then think about it. That difference will, with the work of the Holy Spirit, be something that will draw others to God. Kent speaks of gentleness this way:

    "Involved is the willingness to yield one's personal rights and to show consideration and gentleness to others. It is easy to display this quality toward some persons, but Paul commands that it be shown toward all. That would seem to include Christian friends, unsaved persecutors, false teachers anyone at all. Of course, truth is not to be sacrificed, but a gentle spirit will do much to disarm the adversary." 1

    So, Paul commands keeping all this in mind: Don't panic. Worry is something that is essentially a symptom of lack of faith in God. As Peter said, "Cast all your anxiety on him be cause he cares for you" (1Peter 5:7). The word used here for anxious is merimnate, and in context is referring to anxiety, fretfulness, or undue concern, or as Wiersbe puts it:

    "to be pulled in different directions. Our hopes pull us in one direction; our fears pull us the opposite direction; and we are pulled apart!" 2

    This doesn't mean we should have apathy or be totally oblivious to what is going on around us. It does mean we should just trust in the Lord, and then things will remain in their proper perspective and worry will not overwhelm us.

    Paul gives a practical alternative to worry - Prayer, specifically prize the Lord, petition the Lord, and praise the Lord. If we would expend as much energy on prayer as we do on worry, we really could move mountains. And it is through prayer that we come back in line with God's will and have dependency on Him. The result of this is a miraculous peace that can only come with divine intervention. And this peace is only available to those that are in Christ. For while Satan can provide a false peace, true peace only can be found in believers.

  1. Kent, Homer H., The Expositor's Bible Commentary, "Philippians," Zondervan Interactive Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1990, Electronic text hypertexted and prepared by OakTree Software, Inc.
  2. Wiersbe, Warren W., Be Joyful, Victor Books, Wheaton, IL, 1988. p. 125.

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