(23 verses, 2:52 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Paul concludes his beautiful epistle with a number of encouragements and comforting reminders.
- I see eight paragraphs in this chapter. I’ll give them these summaries:
- 1: Paul piles on his affection and encourages standing firm.
- 2-3: Encouragement for theological reconciliation between Euodia and Syntyche.
- 4-7: A last call to joy, and instructions about turning our worry into prayer, with the following promise of peace.
- 8-9: Instructions for meditation.
- 10-13: Paul’s joy at their care for him, even though he has learned from the Lord what it is to be in every different kind of circumstance.
- 14-20: Paul thanks them for their support.
- 21-22: Final greetings.
- 23: Benediction.
LEARN & MEDITATE
- There are loads of things to consider in this chapter, many of them devotional. Here are a few.
- “Rejoice in the Lord…” (4:4) I’ve noticed that we match up seriousness with worry. If I’m serious about my study, about my work, about my vocation, then I show it by worrying about it. Strange, but this connection is firm in our imagination. These two things are not bound up together in the Lord’s Word. Jesus sets us to a serious life of serious things, but it is not a life without joy. In fact, while Jesus commands us to love and calls forth faith, He also commands us not to worry, and to rejoice in every circumstance.
- “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (4:6). Speaking, then, of worry, Paul tells us to turn our worry to prayer. When we worry about something, we take that worry as a reminder from the Holy Spirit to ask the Lord for help. And when we pray, trusting the Lord’s goodness, there is nothing left to worry about.
- “…think about these things.” (4:8) The Lord is not only concerned about our words and actions, but also wants our thoughts to be sanctified. So Paul gives us a list of things to thing about, the honorable, the just, the pure, the commendable. And always at the top of this list, the most pure and commendable of all, is our Lord Jesus, the chief object of our meditation and our joy.
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