Growing in Joy and Peace
Key Verse: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
UNLIKE SOME OTHER churches, Paul did not rebuke the brethren at Philippi. His epistle to them was full of warmth and loving expressions. Nevertheless, he urged them to stand fast and not retreat from the advanced stages of love and obedience they had already taken.—Phil. 4:1
Several sisters appeared to be prominent helpers in the ecclesia, among whom Euodias and Syntyche are especially mentioned. Apparently, these two believers were having some difficulties in getting along with each other, and they were implored by the apostle to be of the same mind in the Lord in order to preserve a unity of the heart and mind in matters relating to a furtherance of the cause of Christ. Additionally, Paul mentions the role of a “true yokefellow”—probably a brother in that congregation—exhorting him to assist the two sisters by providing counsel towards finding a scriptural solution to help resolve their differences.
Turning next to the entire church, Paul exhorts to “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Those who could do this would need to have faith and trust in the Lord. Persecutions, trials, and suffering are part of the Christian’s experience, and inability to rejoice even in the midst of difficult situations would be evidence of a need for drawing more closely to the Heavenly Father through prayer, study, and meditation upon his precious promises.—vss. 2-7
The apostle then gives some advice concerning the cultivation of proper habits of thought. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”—vs.8
In our Key Verse, the apostle again sets forth his life as a pattern worthy of emulation. His proper living was an outgrowth of the thoughts he entertained in his mind as described in verse eight. The Heavenly Father will be very near to us if our lives are governed by his instructions as outlined in his Word.
The apostle also declared his gratitude for the close relationship that existed between himself and the church at Philippi. He had received some financial assistance from the brethren again after some interval of time had passed and acknowledged they had a desire to render it earlier but lacked the opportunity. He also expressed the fact that he was not in want regardless of his circumstances because the Heavenly Father provided for all his needs.
One lesson believers can take from this account is the fact that we need never have anxious care concerning temporal matters if we are children of God. The Master’s counsel is very much to this point. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”—Matt. 6:33,34