"Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!" (4:1) When Paul wrote, 'that is how you should stand firm in the Lord" he was referring to Philippians 3:20-21. "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies to that they will be like his glorious body." He is reminding them and us to keep our minds on heavenly things. It's crazy to me how I can start my day reading the Word of God, have heavenly thoughts, be encouraged and on fire for God, but slowly as the day wears on and the slightest bad news comes to me, my eyes are taken off the Lord and onto this earth. It happens so easily and so quickly. Paul is urging us, and reminding us to stay focused on God and His Word. I need this reminder every day.
"I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." (4;2-3) My Bible commentary explains this well. "The disagreement between Euodia and Syntyche is serious enough to be mentioned in a letter to be read publicly, but Paul seems confident that 'these women' will be reconciled. His handling of the situation is a model of tact- he does not take sides but encourages others closer to the situation to promote reconciliation."
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (4:4) Just a reminder: Paul is writing this while in jail. If he can rejoice in the Lord in jail, than I think I need to rejoice every minute of every day no matter what happens to me. I can't imagine rejoicing while in jail, but if Paul can do it, then I certainly can do it! "Rejoice!" It's a choice.
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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." (4:5-7) I can read this verse over and over again. "Do not be anxious about anything" Why? because, "in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God," then what happens??? "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Perfect! When we pray and give God all of our anxiety we need to trust who He is- God, and receive His peace that is like nothing here on earth. Sadly, I am like a yo-yo. There are times when I'm up, praying, believing, rejoicing and at peace with the anxiety in my life and other times I am low, sad, worried, and over-eating in my anxiety! I've been praying for a long time now to be steady, and at peace when anxiety comes. I am believing that one day I will be. It's ridiculous how easy I fall into worry.
Lord, thank you for your Word. Thank you for your truth that sets me free. Forgive me for not keeping my eyes on you each and every day. Forgive me for allowing my worry to be bigger than you. Forgive me for over-eating- eating my emotions. Help me Lord to rejoice in all things, all the time. When my eyes are on you, I have many reasons to rejoice! I love you, my Lord and Savior. In Jesus' Name. Amen.