Paul takes such delight in his friends in Philippi. I can imagine how, as he wrote this letter, he was filled with joy at the memories he had made in this community. It is often fond memories we cherish that keep us going in the tough times. Sitting in a prison would not be Paul’s best hour. Yet, he rejoices and encourages his friends to “stay true to the Lord.”
Paul sees the fruits of his labor blooming in his friends. Spreading the good news about Jesus’ resurrection power has become Paul’s life work. To see this young congregation in Philippi growing gives Paul a lot to be thankful for. God is moving in the lives of these people, and God continues to move today. To stay true to the Lord, we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and not let the distractions of this world take hold.
I certainly hope that Euodia and Syntyche were able to mend their differences. Paul was pretty specific here. If you are at odds with someone over some disagreement, let Paul’s words speak to you, too. Just because we’re believers doesn’t mean we are immune to having relational problems. Life is too short to be separated from friends and family over issues that can be settled. Letting unresolved issues fester can also hold us back from the joyful life God intends for us.
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” What does this verse say to you? When is the last time you relied upon your joy in the Lord to get you through the day? There is a key word here. Always. This joy is available 24/7! We don’t have any excuse for not tapping into this joy. Maybe you’re even needing a little joy today?
A lot of what is wrong in our world today comes back to consideration. Paul is setting out a challenge for us in that regard. “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.” In what ways would your community (home, church, and/or neighborhood/town) benefit if everyone showed a little more consideration. It doesn’t cost anything—it’s free!
Why do you think people resist showing their considerate sides at times? Are you as considerate to others as you could be? Do you think we are all too busy harboring some feelings of entitlement to care about others?
I’ve seen firsthand how people often believe they are “too good” to associate with other people for one reason or another. It’s sad. Do you think these “judgmental” people have given any thought to the fact they are reacting to real people, loved by God? We are all loved by God.
We don’t have much time to waste. Paul said, “Remember, the Lord is coming soon.” Soon is relative. Time continues to march on. We need to always be in “active anticipation mode” when it comes to Jesus’ return. We don’t know when it is. But if we’re ready, it doesn’t matter if it’s tomorrow or 10,000 years from now. We’re simply ready.
Living a lifestyle of constant preparedness for Jesus’ return allows us to experience a life of joy. We don’t need to fear. When we are tempted or swayed by the evil one, we can be sure of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. In that truth lies our pure joy.
Not everyone will be ready when Jesus comes back again. Will you?
Let’s pray … Lord, continue to work in me to reveal for me your master plan for my life. I want to live a life that is pleasing to you. Thank you for the joy that surrounds me when I focus on your victory and your promise to me. Draw me close as I wait for your return. In Jesus’ name. Amen.