Philippians 4:2-9 | Peace of Mind
2I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
- Either these women are jointly not agreeing with Paul or with each other, probably the latter
- Despite the grace available to us as believers we are all prone to relational difficulties and we need to fight for unity and for having the same mind, and we all need help in this as these women did
- Most conflicts or disagreements start in our own minds with the stories we tell ourselves and there needs to be a work of forgiveness and understanding first
- This also shows that women were active and central to the work of the gospel, which needs to be considered and encouraged even within complementarian styles of leadership.
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
- The theme of Paul’s letter has been very gritty and high commitment, which can produce a somber spirit when faced with these exhortations, but yet Paul constantly encourages the Philippians to rejoice (rejoice is mentioned 11 times in his letter!)
- Rejoicing brings about a gentleness in our spirit rather than an intensity, and comes from a close relationship with the Lord
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- The Greek word for ‘anxiety’ here means to be ‘pulled apart into pieces’ and that is what can happen when we try to handle all things by ourselves, but it is God who holds us together
- Through prayer we present our requests to God (petition) and receive the peace of God back to us
- The mindset that we are to live by is one of peace – a peace that transcends all understanding. So even when we haven’t got our problems figured out and don’t understand everything we can have peace. The peace guards our hearts and minds and prevents them being burdened and pulled apart by the circumstances we face
8Finally, 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. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
- Rather than be overcome with anxious thoughts, think about that which is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy!
- And as we continue to press forward towards these things in Christian maturity, we can glean from the examples of others and put their behaviours into practice.
- Again, Paul encourages us that as we fix our thoughts on Him, He will give us peace of mind!
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a gritty read with a hard calling, yet he makes clear in this passage to rejoice and rest in the peace of God. His promise is that hardship and suffering that may come does not need to disturb the peace that God offers his children as we fix our thoughts on Him.