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What does Paul mean by Philippians 4:4-7?

How can we rejoice and enjoy the peace of God?

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Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and]again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

4:4 REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS; All the time and in every circumstance. In the midst of sorrow or fear or anxiety or the direst trouble yet can we rejoice in the Lord. In difficult times, it is a source of consolation and when times are good, it prevents us from being led astray by our own sense of self sufficiency. In bad times or in good, cultivating a real Joy in Christ can keep us in the Truth, centred and unmovable and best of all, happy. Again I say REJOICE!

  • 4:5 Let your moderation be known... moderation = forbearance, patience, gentleness, yieldingness. You don't have to fight "Custer's last stand" on every issue or be right about everything all the time. Be ready to concede a point; to persuade by gentle discussion not by angry "my way or the highway" argument.
  • The Lord is at hand.... These qualities focus on our relationships with our brethren and sisters. Knowing that the Lord sees all of our dealings.

    James 5:8,9 Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

    This does not refer only to the second-coming of Christ. In Revelation 2:2, the Lord Jesus says to the church at Ephesus, "I know thy works..." Hebrews 4 all is open and laid bare before him.

    Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

    The judge stands before the door; the Lord is at hand; there is a future application but also a present one. We must practice of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in our life: invite him in; share nourishment with him and grow. If we open the door of our lives to the judge now, and come to know and love him now, we will not stand before him in fear when he comes to judge the world.
  • 4:6 Be careful for nothing (be not anxious - Mat 6:34) let go of your anxiety. That's easy to say. What does Paul say is the antidote to anxiety? Prayer. "In everything" - without exception and at every opportunity - pray. Pray in supplication - humble intreaty - with thanksgiving! Knowing that the prayer will be answered according to His will and in His time. I know from my own experience that we do not do this enough. Pray earnestly. Pray without ceasing. Prayer is the pulse of your life in Christ. If that pulse is weak or erratic then that life is ebbing away. We need to pray. Alone and in community, we need to pray. And so much the more as we see the day of Christ drawing near. Cast aside anxiety about the things of this life and pray. Do this and rejoicing in the Lord will be as natural to you as breathing. You will be happy. Profoundly happy so that even in the most terrible affliction and sorrow there will remain within a vibrant core of joy and hope and faith that no circumstance can affect.
  • 4:7 The peace of God Then you will know the peace of God - tranquility, unity of mind and heart and purpose, source of tremendous courage in the face of adversity. A mind at peace is not a vacant mind. Rather it is a mind not at war with itself. It is a mind free from inner conflict. It is a mind which can work effectively and exercise that wisdom which is from above which is (James 3:17) first pure - purified - from fleshly strife and turmoil.It deliberately chooses; it is discriminating; it eliminates as much as possible the insidious influences of the "corruption that is in the world through passion". It focuses on that which is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, and praiseworthy (v.8) and it marks those who demonstrate the power of Christ in their lives and imitates them, learns from them and rejects the role models thrust at us day in and day out by a corrupt, greedy, and increasingly violent world.

    Ps 12:7,8 (RSV): Do thou, O LORD, protect us, guard us ever from this generation. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

    Psalms 119:37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; [and] quicken thou me in thy way. {Make me alive to Thy way}

    Because the peace of God is cultivated in one's life then the "God of peace" is with you. As David said, "If God is for you, who can stand against you?" Peace brought not by surrender but by victory. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    passeth all understanding - not just that this peace is something that cannot be understood. What the Greek appears to me to mean is that this peace is better, more excellent than understanding alone. Just as understanding is better than mere knowledge.

    It is better because it relies on a true understanding of the purpose of God. It does not rely on an anxious need to know all the details and the end result before it will extend its hand in trust.

    It is better because it is the end product of a true understanding. It is not possible to have this peace without a true and stable understanding of God's word; without the diligent practice of prayer; without a full reliance upon God.

    It is a peace born of the union of understanding and joy in Christ. It keeps - guards - protects with a garrison. Peace will "garrsion your thoughts in Christ Jesus". Like the Romans garrisoned their empire with colonies (Philippi was such a colony) so we must colonize our hearts with the peace of God. Fortify and garrison our lives with the spirit of Christ so that no enemy, no circumstance, no temptation, will force us to strike the colours of God's kingdom from the battlements of our fortress of faith.

I hope you have found this helpful.

God bless,
Mike
thisisyourbible.com

 
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