Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Philippians 4:1 NIV
My grandson is four months old and experiencing so many things for the first time. His dog’s antics delight him. His parents singing and dancing delight him. Our laughter delights him. And when he is delighted, we’re delighted – our joy is linked to his.
In Philippians chapter four, Paul calls the church in Philippi his JOY and CROWN. Their well-being affects his own.
If you’re a believer in Christ, you may be thinking, “but my joy is in Christ alone.”
Yes, I agree with you. Our JOY is grounded in our salvation and in our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ. But just as he focused on the joy set before him, obeying even to death on the cross – we too focus on the joy set before us – that joy is the salvation and faithfulness of our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, communities and cities.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:7-8 NIV
Our joy is linked. We are one body in Christ. How, then, does Paul encourage the faithfulness and joy of fellow believers?
Stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Philippians 4:1b NIV
- Stand firm in your commitment to follow Christ. Hold fast to his words, draw near to his throne in prayer, obey his commands to love the Lord, and to love your neighbor.
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women… Philippians 4:2-3a NIV
- Reconcile conflicts between yourselves and your brothers and sisters in Christ. The phrase to be of the same mind is also translated as agree with one another. Paul sees conflict between those he loves, who’ve served beside him, who also love Jesus, and he pleads with them to reconcile. Not only that, he tells the church to help them reconcile.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5 NIV
- Be gentle. Let your gentleness be evidence of your love for Jesus Christ and in consequence your love for others. In our current charged culture, where strong feelings are being displayed with strong words and even stronger actions, we are called to be gentle. That means we are to be kind, understanding, loving. When we speak, our motive is to demonstrate the love of Jesus – who forgave those who condemned and killed him.
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. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
- Don’t be anxious – PRAY! We are to bring all our fears to God in prayer, remembering with gratitude how he’s been faithful to us in the past. Psalm 62:8 tells us to pour out our hearts to God, for he is our refuge. Psalm 9:9 reminds us God is our stronghold in times of trouble. And here in Philippians 4, Paul tells us our prayers will result in an incomprehensible peace from God which will guard our hearts and our minds!
Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Philippians 4:8 NIV
- Think about what is true, right, lovely, praiseworthy, etc. Our thoughts are under our control. What we dwell on will affect our mood, our behavior, our actions. As Christians, we have hope. We have a glorious future and a present confidence in the love of God nothing and no one can take away. In Christ, our sins are forgiven and we are no longer condemned by God – that’s TRUE. It is NOBLE to sacrifice for the benefit of others. Living according to God’s word is RIGHT. The lovliness of God’s creations is PRAISEWORTHY.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV
- Rejoice in the Lord always – I’ll say it again – REJOICE! Rejoicing in the Lord redirects our focus. It brings us joy, hope, life. Paul says the secret to being content in any and every circumstance is knowing that in Christ he can do all things!
So my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! He will accomplish his purposes and we can trust in his goodness and unfailing love. Stand firm, reconcile, be gentle, pray through your fears, think on the what is true, and rejoice in the Lord.
My joy is linked to your joy!