Commitment and consistency will keep you on track, today we finish the book of Philippians with chapter 4, a small book but with powerful life lessons.
Take home, closing appeal for steadfastness and unity!
“Stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends.” Jesus is the only firm foundation.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Akilnathan Logeswaran is quoted saying ‘happiness is a choice, a repetitive one,’ everyday we have to make an individual choice to be happy, or to let the circumstances around to overwhelm us, therefore choose to be happy, put on that beautiful smile, and be real with yourself, and not allowing the world to pull you down.
To rejoice in the Lord means that I will not only be happy when God gives me good gifts, but also when there are no gifts at all. In every situation, He is still God and we need to rejoice in Him, in the words of Nehemiah, ‘He’s joy is our strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10), and it is He who gives us the strength to endure every situation; because humanly, its impossible, but He is our strength, He is our refuge, He is our all in all.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I know it’s easier said than done, but the truth is, anxiety is the root cause of worry, anger, depression exetra. Jesus asked, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Therefore, do not worry, but present your petitions to God in prayer and with a thankful heart. James brings in a different perspective in 4:2-3 “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Auch! First, you don’t ask, second you ask with ulterior motives! which one do you do? Truth is we can hide from everyone else except God, He sees directly into our hearts and sees our motives and intentions, that is why He is a Just and Faithful God.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. I don’t think anyone can add anything onto this. God is calling us to live our lives with high moral principles, to be morally good and do things that are acceptable in His eyes, to live a life of purity and not get entangled in the ways of the world, but following what is deserving of respect and honesty.
“For I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Are you living according to what God has provided for you? or are you living outside your means? Paul talks about being content in every situation, whether in plenty or in want, giving thanks to God in all the circumstances and situations that come our way, again choose to be real.
Giving is a topic that majority of Christians shy aware from, and some actually see it as a way of pastors to ‘eat’ their money. When we view giving in this perspective then we loose the purpose of giving to God and not to man. In the last verses of Philippians 4, Paul talks about how when he set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with him in the matter of giving and receiving exept the Philippians, who also sent him aid when he was in Thessalonica. Reading this verses reminds me of how in our current times, people still have a negative perspective about giving. It’s always a case of enriching the church folks and not about God, however, Malachi tells us that when we don’t give, we are robbing God. “Will a mere mortal rob God? yet you rob me. ‘But you ask, “how are we robbing you?” ‘In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – your whole nation – because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty,’ and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out is much blessing that there will not be room nought to store it.” Give not unto man, but unto God.
Whenever we give, our gifts and offerings “are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His Glory in Christ Jesus.” The next time you want to be stingy in your giving, remember that “God loves a cheerful giver,” 2Corinthians 9:7 and it is ‘more blessed to give than to receive’ Acts 20:35. Picture in your mind how offering a burnt offering brings an aroma, and now God is telling us that our giving to Him, is a fragrant (sweet smelling, pleasing) and acceptable sacrifice. Don’t look at your giving as though your giving to man, but to God, after all He tells us in Malachi to ‘test Him in this,’ you have just been given a go ahead to test God in something and that is in giving, and when you do, “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His Glory in Christ Jesus.”
Remember, all power, all authority, everything belongs to Him, and He’s promised to meet all your needs, others versions say, ‘my God will supply all your needs,’ what is your need? have you asked? are you asking with a good motive? ponder on that!
We’re done with the book of Philippians, I certainly hope that you’ve gotten a deeper understanding of God’s word, and I pray that you will develop a Bible reading culture.
Memory Verse Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."