The pandemic. The lockdowns. The lunacy and rhetoric from politicians who care more about power than people. It’s enough to make anyone feel nuts! Several weeks ago God prompted me to start a slow-reading of Philippians. It has become a lifeline of sorts.
After all, Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians while he was under house arrest; he knew a thing or two about being confined. He knew about being separated from family and friends so he wrote a love letter to them. Despite his difficult circumstances, Paul reminds us that when we focus on God, we can maintain a sense of peace and joy.
Consider the encouraging words in these passages and apply them to your own life:
Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. Phil 1:18-20
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… Phil 2:14-16
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him... Phil 3:8-9
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near; 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. Phil 4:4-7
I especially love that last one. Rejoice in the Lord always. Jesus is ever present and Paul gives them (and us) the secret to overcoming anxiety. When we include thanksgiving in our requests to God, we get the peace that passes understanding. Suffering and struggle is part of the human experience, but the source of joy and peace is found in God.
He hears and loves us and we can advance the gospel and glorify him in every situation!