Saturday, November 24, 2012

Reflecting on Philippians 4

In Ephesians 5:15-17, Paul tells believers that they should "redeem the time;" he goes on several verses later to list, in part, how believers can redeem the time: 1) be filled with the Spirit, 2) speak to one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, 3) sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord, 4) give thanks to God always for all things in Christ's name, 5) submit to one another. In Philippians 4, I believe Paul has a similar goal in mind. I believe there are many verses from the fourth chapter of Philippians which instruct believers clearly on how to "redeem" the time they've been given:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 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 4:4-9 ESV)
To redeem one's time is to spend it with the LORD: rejoicing, praying, praising, testifying, giving, loving, sharing, comforting. Earlier in his epistle he writes:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:1-4 ESV)

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
(Philippians 2:14-16 ESV)
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
(Philippians 1:27 ESV) 
Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
(Philippians 3:16 ESV) 

Paul's prayers to believers reveal his heart:

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
(Philippians 1:9-11 ESV)

Philippians is a letter of substance written to believers focusing on the believer's relationship with God (what we can expect from God, what he has promised us, what God expects or wants from us, what God calls us to do or commands us not to do) and on the believer's relationship with other believers and the world. Philippians is about the Christian life or Christian lifestyle. There are verses that are so short, so simple, and are anything but simple in practice! Verses like: Do all things WITHOUT grumbling or disputing and Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS.

Philippians also urges believers to REMEMBER who Christ is and what he has done, what he is doing, and what he will do. And, perhaps when we REMEMBER that, we have reason to rejoice always. I think the key to rejoicing always is to always keep God in focus.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

twiga92 said...

One of my goals for next year is to memorize Philippians 3. Love this book!