Thursday, January 21, 2010

Philippians 4: How To Get Peace Of Mind

Theme: You should share Christ's mind.

4. By promoting peace (4)

Chapter four describes a mind of peace, unity, and security ("stand firm"), which lives in harmony with other believers, rejoices in everything, shows moderation, makes its requests known to God, dwells on praiseworthy things, and learns to stay content.  You should share Christ's mind of peace.

By living in harmony (1-3).  Paul urged Euodia and Syntyche to share one mind "in the Lord".  When two believers share the mind of Christ, they will be in agreement with one another, and this promotes unity and a firm stand. Sharing one cause also promotes peaceful harmony.  Paul calls on yokefellow" (may be a proper name [Suzugos] or emphasize the unity they share in the gospel ministry) to help the women live in harmony, and recalls their former ways of laboring together in the gospel.  

By rejoicing always (4).  Once again, the epistle calls upon the Philippians to "rejoice" always, and once again, it is in close connection with fellowship, unity, and sharing one mind in the work of gospel ministry.   

By showing moderation (5).  The word "moderation" comes from root words meaning to "be like".  In 1 Timothy 3:3, it is translated "patient", and contrasted with being a "brawler", and "covetous".  Titus 3:2 calls it being "gentle" and "meek", as opposed to speaking evil about others, or brawling. James 3:17 describes it as being reasonable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy, and without partiality or hypocrisy.  The reason for showing this attitude is because "the Lord is near".  This may refer to the fact that He could return at any moment (cf. James 5:7-9).

By asking God for what you need (6-7).  The person who is "careful", is one who is anxious about many things (6).  The word comes from a root meaning "to divide", or "to distract". It describes a mind which is divided into multiple parts by worry. Luke 10:38-42 (NAS) illustrates the usage of this word:

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet.  But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?  Then tell her to help me."  But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are *worried* and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

A Rather than allow our mind to become divided or distracted by multiple worries, we should ask God, with thanksgiving, for the things we are concerned about.  The result of this is that "the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (7).

By thinking about excellent things (8-9).  The believer should allow his mind to dwell on those things which are "true", "honorable", "right", "pure" (as contrasted with moral impurity), "lovely", "of good repute", excellent, or "worthy of praise". 

By practicing what you learn (9).  In addition to dwelling on excellent things, though, believers should put into practice what they have learned from God's Word and godly examples (9). The result of this is that they experience inner peace from God.

By staying content (10-20).  Paul rejoiced that the Philippians revived their concern for him, by sending Epaphroditus to supply his needs in prison.  However, Paul had learned how to be content (to consider "sufficient") with humble means or prosperity.  This was because he could do "all things through Christ" who strengthened him (cf. 2 Cor. 12:9). You should share Christ's mind of peace.


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