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Grace Lutheran Church Weekly Devotion - Philippians 4:4–13

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Reverend Steven Zandstra

Philippians 4:4–13

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. 10I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Living through so much uncertainty, perhaps we have begun to believe that to be joyful we have to depend on things, having enough money and conveniences.  But Saint Paul escaped from this trap which subtly and effectively robs us of joy.  In our text he tells us that he has learned to be content no matter what he is facing.  By God’s grace the Apostle can say, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (12).  For some reason though, God is silent about the times when Paul had wealth and a superabundance of goods.  But the Bible points out that he suffered hardship, hunger, and pain.  Yet regardless of his situation in life Paul remains joyful.  His joy did not come from some strong, inner force of self-discipline.  Paul was content and at peace because he trusted, no matter the trial or need, he did not have to worry about anything; God was always at hand, He was always near.  Paul rejoices in the certainty God will never let him down. 

Paul knows God is in complete control and directs us not to be anxious about anything (6).  Since we are sinful beings, anxiety surfaces because we have no control over anything, especially life or death.  So, anxiety can suddenly appear out of nowhere and at times paralyze us.  Peace must come from outside of us, from outside of our anxiety.  

Saint Paul calls all Christians to rejoice always because the peace of God guards against everything that could get us down: The times when life suddenly caves in on us and we react as if the world is ending.  In those times we realize we are helpless and turn to God for help.  We realize that God is the one who takes care of us.  That His plans for us are far better than the hopes and plans we have for ourselves.  Those are the times we recognize “The Lord is at hand” (5).

It is easy to be captivated with the anxieties of our earthly lives, especially the fear of whether the Lord of all creation is in our midst.  In his suffering, Paul rejoices in “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding” (7).  Therefore, he calls all Christians to pray to our Father in heaven about all things and all people.  Our prayers, “with thanksgiving,” (6) demonstrate we trust that the Lord will attend to every need and humble request of His people.  Entrusting everything to God through prayer means that there is nothing God’s people should be anxious about.  Through God’s Word lived out in prayer, instead of being anxious, we experience God’s peace knowing He will indeed guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  That peace of God is our divine sentry, it is the soldier guarding our hearts and minds and our entire life.

Beloved of the Lord, you too can rejoice in the fact that the God who raised Christ the crucified from the dead, can and “will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (4:19).  By God’s grace, with “the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” we have the peace of knowing whatever happens in life “will turn out for [our] deliverance, . . . that [we] will not be at all ashamed” (cf. 1:19-20).   The peace of God is knowing that on the last day He will raise all the dead and give eternal life to all believers in Christ.  

825 North 1st West

Cheyenne Wells, CO, 80810-0728

Sunday Service begins at 9:00AM