A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
This section of Paul’s Philippian letter contains some wonderful material. The discussion of human inadequacy and the futility of relying on tradition or past accomplishments is classic, and Paul’s assertion that he counts it all worthless in comparison to now knowing Jesus Christ gives us a great deal to consider.
Paul also encourages us to stay focused on the ultimate goal of life: becoming more like Christ as we move towards the time when we will reign with Him forever. Our progress is never finished; our successes never final, until we enter God’s eternal kingdom at death. The doctrine of sanctification finds one of its best expressions in this passage.
Chapter 4 begins with Paul’s encouragement, once again, to stand firm. We are to remember the enormity of God’s grace and in that rejoice always. The normal concerns of life can be brought to God for His timely and effective action and we can trust Him with the details. That trust results in an inner peace which is beyond the understanding of those who have no relationship with God and therefore no experience of His love and reliability.
The key to our endurance is spelled out at the end of chapter 4: attitude! We need to focus our thoughts on things that remind us of God’s greatness, our own place among those He loves and protects, and the aspects of life which most clearly convey His will for our lives. The most fascinating aspect of this section is Paul’s humble assurance that we can follow his example and find the faith needed for perseverance, hope and inner peace.
Just prior to his final greetings, Paul shares his secret for contentment: accept God’s will as right and trust God’s control of everything, Paul has listed elsewhere (see 2 Corinthians 10) the trials and troubles he has had to live through. Here he simply restates his confidence that whether he has too much or too little, God is in charge of his life and he therefore has nothing to fear. In fact, far from the absence of fear, he can actually be content in his knowledge that salvation is coming (once again, we could look back at another section of Paul’s writings, 2 Corinthians 4, where he says he fixes his attention on things that are not seen .... in heaven).
What do you think about each day? Do you control your thoughts or do they control you? Have you learned to trust God enough to be content in any circumstance? He will help us become as He wishes us to be; we must first decide we are willing to let Him, and to work with Him!
Today, ask God to help you take control of your thoughts and learn contentment. What He did for Paul, He can, and is willing to, do for us!
© A. Eugene Pearson