Philippians: Day 11

Rejoice

by

Today's Text: Philippians 4:2-9, Ephesians 4:31-32, John 15:7, Romans 8:5-6

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

- Philippians 4:4 -

“Oh, how they need God’s peace!”

How often have you come away from an argument muttering those words under your breath? Admittedly, I have, and more than once. No sooner do those words enter my brain or leave my lips, than the wheels start turning and my own gut starts wrenching.

The conversation in question (or, more often than not, what the other person did or said) replays over and over in my head. I toss and turn in my bed, sighing and committing to not fixate on the conflict. But, yet again, the dispute worms its way back into my consciousness.

Unfortunately, being a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean we are always going to get along with everyone, even if they, too, belong to Christ. This is the type of situation Paul is referring to in Philippians 4:2-9, with the women Euodia and Syntyche. We know nothing else of these women or the source of their conflict other than that it was a distraction from the advancement of the church and, undoubtedly, was robbing them each of God’s peace.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Can you imagine that being your way of getting your name in God’s Word for all eternity—  because you were having an epic catfight with another sister? But Paul’s purpose isn’t to shame Euodia and Syntyche. Thankfully, Paul aims to diffuse their dispute and give us all tools to use the next time we are involved in a such a conflict.

I find Paul’s directions helpful as a sort of a checklist for when such an issue arises:

1.  Rejoice in the Lord (v. 4). Have I reminded myself of the joy in knowing Christ and that He, no matter the conflict I’m in, has already triumphed over it all? Though it may be the last thing I feel like doing, I am called to rejoice!

2.  Practice grace and patience (v. 5). Am I being gracious and patient as I wait for the Lord and HIS resolution?

3. Pray steadfastly (v. 6). Have I poured out my heart to God, asking for His help and showing gratitude that He hears me and is already working on my behalf

4.  Dwell on Him, not the problem (v. 8). Am I focusing on God’s Word and His character— His beauty, compassion, righteousness, grace— instead of on the conflict?

5.  Obey Him (v. 9). Am I letting God be God, regardless of the conflict, holding onto my faith and obediently following His will? Or am I abandoning His truth and being driven to sin?

Today’s cultural climate is so full of issues for believers and non-believers to disagree about, whether face-to-face or behind the veil of social media. It seems Paul’s words may never have been more applicable than now. But, friends, as followers of Christ, we have every reason to rejoice like Paul said to offer grace instead of grumbling, to turn our worry into prayers, and to hold tight to the gospel as a family of faith.

Remembering Paul’s charge to the Philippians, let’s ask God to use our conflicts to change us, to help us focus on Him and those things worthy of our thoughts, and to keep us in His Word and will.

Because, oh, how we all need God’s peace.

SRT-Philippians-instagram11

  • Reading about peaceful resolutions, rejoicing in all things, on this day, Election Day 2016, wow, I could not have found a more meaningful Bible reading than this. The Lord be with us.

  • Kaitlyn

    I feel our world is in shambles at the moment and now more than ever, many people would benefit from unity rather than battling one another.

  • BlessedandFavored

    In all seasons I will rejoice in the Lord!! Hallelujah!

  • Mariah Derry

    This was exactly what I needed. Especially as Christians, so practice what is true and honorable and just, we know these things and have the power of discernment, but it can be so easy to get lost in the fog of our own worries. :)

  • Needed this one today. Thanks for the helpful checklist

  • Kasey Summers

    Rejoice ALWAYS. Show grace and patience. Pray steadfastly. Dwell on Him. Obey Him. Lord, make this my heart beat.

  • It’s so amazing how God will speak right into a situation x

  • So needed. xo

  • This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now. Going through a particularly difficult (seemingly impossible) stage of a continuing struggle, and I needed to hear this new way of approaching one of my favorite passages. I’m going to take this approach to how I approach my problem and my God.

  • Challenged by your third point on prayer. I’m great at turning to God in times of challenge but forget to thank Him for listening and already acting on my behalf

  • Just what I needed to read this morning. God is using SRT!

  • I love the heart of Paul and his steady concern for God’s people. Our church is struggling right with a conflict and I pray I can use these words, this insight. Thank you

  • I’m a little behind so this was my reading today… It’s amazing how God is working in our lives all the time, even before we realize we need it. This couldn’t have come at a more opportune time as I head to work to deal with conflict. Thank you for this!

  • Alison Elizabeth

    Great reminder and break down of the verses!

  • LOVE this devo. Thank you, SRT!

  • Gina Nelson

    I like the “PRACTICE grace and patience”. I think sometimes we think we should just have this and walk in it and there is no work involved. But the truth is those words are action words in the life of a Christian. Just because we don’t “feel” gracious or patient doesn’t mean we shouldn’t put forth the effort to walk in them. It’s a work of His Spirit not our flesh.

  • Tiffany K

    I pray everyday before my study and ask God to show me what I need to see: well did he ever this morning, I am a hairdresser so I work with lots of women and we currently have one who keeps trying to stir the pot as we are transitioning into a new salons and becoming a new and improved is. The “Check List for Conflict” was just what I needed this morning!! I need to dwell on HIM and not the problem! So ladies I’m asking for this simple prayer, that you pray that I can be a light try to handle the situation with grace and that she becomes part of our awesome work team again and less of the conflict!

  • This was simply beautiful! Rejoice in the Lord…always! So needed this reminder today!

  • Loved this! I’m going through a breakup in a relationship and needed to hear this.

  • Oh how I needed this today! I will admit, first and foremost, that my answers to ALL those questions was a resounding NO! In my impatience with God's handling a very worrisome and painful situation in my family, I decided to take matters into my own hands several months ago. I mean, I'd been faithfully paying and turning this over to Him for years… why was He taking so darned long!?!?! So I've begun isolating… knowing I was making a huge mistake. I have stopped my daily devos and prayer, and slowed way down on my church attendance and support group meetings. Have things gotten better? No, of course not. Have they gotten worse? Not especially. Has my anxiety, hurt, confusion and fear increased? Absolutely! Now I have to find my way back… I feel so far away from God right now, that nothing seems to touch my heart. I guess I've got it wrapped tight to try to protect it from more disappointment. Please pray for me, sisters… that I can open my heart and allow the Spirit back into my heart.

    • Zeydi

      Praying for you! I have been there too!

    • Angela

      Praying for you, Lori! I’ve been there, too. Thanks for being honest!!! You’ll get through it! I promise to continue remembering you in my prayers!

  • A favorite part of scripture for me. I love the checklist and shall try to remember it.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Thanks for joining us today, Frances! We love having you in our community!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • I love today's reading – REJOICE! How easily it is for me to be critical of myself and be full of doubts and fear! Yet, God is always there ready for me to give him my worries! I am worrier by nature and it has been so difficult in my daily life whether at home or work to TRUST him to take care of all my needs and supply me with his everlasting love.

    About 3 years ago, I had a huge conflict at work with two of my co-workers. They didn't like me and were telling my boss lots of lies about me. They were meant to have me fired. My identity is so intertwined with work that it about destroyed me. I was full of doubts and fearful for my future. I am a single mom and responsible for my two children and my mother. I just kind of lost it worrying about everything and anything. It just felt like a black cloud was hanging over me. I finally had to come down to my knees and ask God to help me. I started looking up to him and not my circumstances and just be ready to accept whatever happened in this situation. I also had to take a hard look at myself and accept my part in it. Lo and behold, my boss (General Manager) called me to a meeting about 3 months after and apologized to me. About two years to the date, one of the men got fired. I wasn't happy to have this happened to him because he also has a family, but I couldn't believe how things had worked out. God brought me through this whole episode and showed himself stronger in my weakness. I am very self reliant and don't handle conflict well. I have finally realized after 50 some years how full of insecurities and fear I am, and yet, God is working through all my issues and filling me with his peace and GRACE!!! Oh, how I rely on this to make it day by day! Thank you for breaking it down for us and for reminding us to REJOICE!!!

  • lizzie_jk

    I love the translation that The Message gives for Philippians 4:6-7

    "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praise shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

    And also verse 4 in The Message

    "Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!"

    Thank you for this good reminder this morning!

    • Frances

      I love this translation. Thanks for sharing it!!!

    • SheReadsTruth

      Thanks for sharing this, Lizzie! I especially love \”Celebrate God all day, every day!\” May we do that today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • My husband and I both work in ministry together, and it seems like lately all that comes up in our staff meetings is petty complaints about other staff members. "She didn't do this like I wanted it. He didn't put this back where it belonged. Why was the closet door left open?" There are so many good things we can do together for the Kingdom if we can learn to be just be joyful and overlook petty differences. "The return of the Lord is at hand!" That should be our focus. I pray that God will help fix my thoughts on what is excellent and worthy of praise, let the petty things go, and be at peace with those around me.

  • This really really convicted me to be mindful of how I spend my time and what/who I surround myself with. The Lord has been really working in my heart–and I know He dramatically wants to change my life and bring me new freedom like I've never felt but I've been resisting hard and wanting to stay in my comfortable lifestyle…

    This doesn't necessarily have to do with conflict resolution like the devotional was on today, but when Sarah mentioned something about conflict not advancing the church… cue conviction. Aside from conflicts, is ANYthing I'm doing working to advance the church? If I want my every thought to be for the Glory of God, I have to fill my life with things worthy of the Spirit.

    Jesus, keep working in my heart and pull me closer to You. Help me to let go of the worldly things I want to cling so tightly to in favor of real, true freedom in a relationship with Christ.

    • drea

      Ashley, I love your transparency. Is Anything I'm doing advancing the church? Heart check. Agreeing with you in prayer. xoxo

  • "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4"7)

    What a beautiful promise!! We are told here that God's peace — which will baffle us with its strength and intensity (and sometimes, its timing) – WILL be ours! Thank you, Jesus!

    "…hearts and minds…" can be translated "thoughts and emotions" — so God's peace WILL guard our thoughts and emotions. How amazing and, may I add, *needful* is that?!!

    As a born worrier, I long ago memorized Phil. 4:4-7 and these verses never get old. They're the verses I recite when I find myself worrying.

  • Just wanted to say … I've been going through this study with y'all and it's been such a blessing for me to grow in my faith with such an amazing community of believers. Thanks SRT and all you lovely ladies who impact my walk with God!

    Philippians 4:7 says, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." When I read this verse I am reminded of what Renee Swope wrote in one of her books, "God doesn't promise understanding; He promises peace in the midst of NOT understanding." This is so important to remember—especially for me who wants to be in control of everything! I'm so thankful today for God's peace that guards my heart and mind!

  • “Ask God to use our conflicts to change us” — and just like that I’m floored. After yesterday’s reading about being good ambassadors of heaven, a situation arose that very day for me to do exactly that, and what did I do? Well, I did the opposite. It wasn’t pretty, or becoming, or lovely & pure…. It was ugly. It escalated. And I was at the center of the conflict!

    Lord that you would take the conflicts we are SURE to encounter in life and use them to change us, to shape us into something less like our nature and more like the shape of your heart. Draw out the elements of our character that aren’t worthy of your kingdom! You are just & merciful with us, Lord…let us extend that mercy to our sisters, those who believe AND those who do not yet know you. And thank you for this guidebook to living, Your holy words, the ones with the power to heal past hurts and bring freedom & change. Thank you SRT for the timely message!

  • It’s interesting that we are called to do exactly what are flesh is railing against. In the midst of our trials we are called to be thankful, to pray, to rejoice. THEN the peace comes. Sometimes we have to praise until the joy flows…it positions our heart for Him to move. It’s so hard!! But so worth it. In a hard season but really needed this today …so thankful for His presence that wraps around us completely!

  • I'm embarrassed to admit that my conflict is often found in the twenty-one third graders with whom I have the privilege of teaching. I know in my heart that teaching is a gift, and a worthy calling, but sometimes it's so darn hard to focus on Him while in the midst of them. It often overwhelms me (as I'm sure I've mentioned before).

    My solution is most often not prayer and thanksgiving. My solution is usually to escape. I'm guilty of believing a more peaceful life can be found elsewhere, not upward.

    I'm eternally grateful for this realization. I'm grateful that, with SRT and my family of Christ, I'm learning to dwell in Him, and not on the problem.

    • Kellie

      Amy, your comment is so timely and well put! I too am incredibly guilty of believing the lie that my peace can be found elsewhere instead of upward, and I find myself very convicted of that this morning. Thank you for sharing your insight-it definitely struck a cord! ❤️

    • SusieT

      Amy, God BLESS you (& our other SRT Sisters who teach)!! The influence you hold over the ones you teach can be powerful, indeed, and I thank God for Godly teachers like yourselves. I also think – based on the positive impact you can make – that teachers face some incredible spiritual warfare, for the enemy of our souls certainly wants to bring discouragement, and especially when circumstances are already challenging. Our Scriptures today are so helpful, as is your reminder to look to God for deliverance from difficulties. In Christ, you are victorious!

    • HelenWalksinAwe

      You post makes me think of my third period class of Freshman English =)

  • This is a timely topic for me, as I’m struggling with some tension between myself and another believer. I do not feel fairly treated at all, and feel that this person is operating from a place of pride and insecurity. Regardless, I know that God ordains and heals all things– I’ve been praying for that since the day I first sensed tension with the woman in question, and have tried to be friendly and accomodating. There is so much wisdom in the points listed about returning our hearts to God, but I also think communication and direct conversations are necessary. Speaking the truth in love often means having to engage in a hard conversation (that would be easier to avoid). Things left in the dark only grow, things brought to life can be understood and redeemed. ✨

    Prayers are so welcome as I wait to hear from God about the disgruntling dynamics of my situation, and peace in my heart either way.

    • Amy J

      Praying for peace in your heart.

    • drea

      I understand, and dealt with a similar situation for over a year. God is faithful when you do give it to him and will show in what way he wants you to handle it. For me it was giving it to him again and again and again, because if I didn't it robbed my peace for sure. Until one day he opened a day for direct conversation and I said ok lets do it. Still prayerfully figuring out how to go about a new friendship but things are much better and God is good. praying for you, Erin! xoxo

  • I've never offered a comment on this board before, but this morning I feel like one is warranted.
    God's been peeling the layers off of my heart for about a year. I've always been a believer, but as with most Christians, my faith had waned a bit without me even realizing it. My heart has since transformed into the vulnerable, receptive vessel it was meant to be. It's allowed me to see and know Christ in a way that I never have before.
    Simultaneously, we've been trying to conceive a second baby for over a year now. We conceived our son very easily, so it was difficult early on when it just wasn't happening. Over the past couple of months, however, I've been in such deep prayer about our situation. I didn't know if we were supposed to have more kids, if that was going to be organically or through adoption, or what infertility treatments we were or were not to pursue. Time and time again, I could feel God saying, "Trust Me." So I did. I completely gave it all to him and the peace I feel is so serene and amazing.
    Fast forward to this morning…I check my e-mail as I'm getting ready for work in the morning, and while I always see the She Reads Truth e-mails, I usually don't read them until I get to work so I can go back and forth between the scriptures and the write-up. When I pulled up my e-mail this morning and saw that the title was "Rejoice"…I started bawling. I had just taken a pregnancy test, and it was positive. I totally skipped the writing and went straight to the scripture…and I cried harder. Versus 4-9 overwhelmed me. I could tell this study was going to be impactful for me from the beginning because it seemed like each day was speaking so very specific to thoughts or issues on my heart. But today…today took the cake.
    Thank you Jesus for your blessings, your patience with the stubborn, and the peace you bring to those who make themselves vulnerable to your hand.

    • Amy J

      Thankful for the blessings in your life.

    • Juliet

      Thank you for this sweet encouragement this morning. My husband and I are in that hard season of trying for our first baby and I’m battling discouragement…but trusting that God sees us and is so faithful. Congratulations on your blessing!! He is good and I needed to see this today

      • Paige

        It's a very trying time, but please lean on God and His will for your lives. What I know now, is that had I gotten pregnant when we wanted to, it likely would have been a miserable pregnancy due to an unusually stressful six months at work where we were working nights, weekends, etc… It would have just been awful. I'm so thankful that God was looking out for me. I don't yet know why, but apparently this was the right time and way for us.
        I wish you all the best!!

    • SusieT

      Congratulations, Paige!! So thrilled for you! And praying your pregnancy goes wonderfully!! :)

    • Joanna

      Congrats!!

    • drea

      so wonderful! congrats to you and your family Paige. xoxo

    • shereadstruth

      Hi Paige! I am so glad you decided to comment today. Thank you for sharing your heart with us! Rejoicing with you and continuing to pray!

      Grace and Peace,
      Kaitlin

    • tina

      Definitely rejoicing with you, Paige at the faithfulness of our God…Congratulations!! And I pray God continue to be with you throughout this special time…hugs and Love…xxx

    • CBear

      Congratulations, Paige! Rejoicing with you and praying for your growing family! :)

    • idah

      Congratulations

  • Oh, how I needed this today, though I hate to admit it.

  • Michelle of LA CA

    "Rejoice in the Lord always " I have read this verse 50 times but this morning it has a different meaning to me .
    Last night at the cancer center after months of doing tests and blood work I found out that I do have tumor but it's non cancerous .
    The prayer warriors were on it . And God heard their cries . We had victory . And I will forever rejoice in the God 's name each day after what He brought me thru
    Thank you SRT for your writings these past 2 months . It got me thru a touch time .
    Rejoice !!!!!

    • Amy J

      Filled with a joyful heart. Truly grateful for your good news.

    • carlybenson

      So happy to hear your good news, Michelle.

    • A PEACH IN ITALY

      That is amazing! God is good!

    • Kim

      Amen! Rejoice indeed!!!

    • Joanna

      Rejoicing with you Michelle <3

    • tina

      Rejoicing with you, Michelle, that our God heard the prayers of the warriors and yourself…to set you free from the worries and thoughts of the past few weeks….Hallelujah…He is good…xxxx

    • Elaine

      Sorry I am a day late with my reply but I hope you read this…I praise God that you had a good report and know how powerful prayer is and how blessed we are when we are surrounded by prayer warriors……however…..what peace He can provide even when we don't get that good report but instead are told that we have cancer. My diagnosis came 4 years ago and it is very hard to rejoice during treatments, surgery, etc. It is hard but not impossible! Only through God and the peace He gives us can we truly rejoice when our prayers are answered in a different way than we want. We still have the opportunity to help others through our experience regardless of what that experience may be! "In all things rejoice" even when its hard to do!!! Praise GOD,

  • Caroline @ In Due Time

    AMen! May I add ‘BE unoffendable’ and ‘Keep Your Love On’! Two motto’s are try to live by! http://www.in-due-time.com

  • I’m full of thanks to God for the timeliness of this devotion and scriptures. I woke up to some pretty nasty emails from some family members and immediately was covered with a peaceful heart from His Spirit. Then I got to dive into this devotion, which provides step by step of how to guide my heart in His righteousness.

  • Rejoice in the Lord always…even on the road. A small, but humorous example: I used to have some major road rage. Maybe it was me letting out frustrations I didn’t have the guts to let out, but I flipped the middle finger so many times it was like a second language. Yesterday I was driving home from work, and waiting at red lights, admittedly, I was checking emails. At the last red light, I was a few seconds late in hitting the gas and several minutes later, a car pulled ahead of me and a man stuck his hand out the window imitating talking with his hand. I felt the familiar flutter of nerves in my stomach and waited to see what he would do. He stuck his hand out three more times and I have to be honest, I was ready to give him a nice one fingered salute until I looked to God. I thought to myself, here I am making all this progress through you, why would I resort to something that does not honor You? I decided, if it were to pass, that I was going to flash the man a peace sign. Unfortunately or fortunately it did not, but I drove on in the name of Christ. Lord, THANK YOU!

    • Sandy

      Hurray! That's one victory under your belt! I'm reminded of a friend of mine, her response to someone's road rage was to roll down her window and and shout, " God bless you, have a nice day!" with a big smile and a friendly wave. Wish I could remember to respond that way!

  • Candacejo

    This was in my #timehop this morning: "My brave husband sent this to me today….(six years ago)….Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there lived a woman who did not nag, whine, or complain. But it was a long, long time ago and it was just that one day." Does he have guts or what?! (Yeah, yeah I know men do all of those things too but you get the point, lol)

    I chuckled when I read it again this morning and then I came HERE. Yikes. Me and conflict resolution do not really go well together. I wouldn't lash out at someone but would keep it inside (unless I ranted to The Sweetheart). But oh how much I could learn and CHANGE if I took Paul's words to heart! Instead of stewing, brewing and chewing, which cause MY blood pressure to rise and stress level to elevate beyond what is healthy, I could hand that worry over to God and follow those wonderful steps to healing. I don't want my nagging, whining or complaining to cause another to stumble either. God forbid.

    Dwell on HIM, not the problem. He is the ultimate Problem-Solver! ♥

  • My husband and I had a rockin´ pre-marital counselor. One of the truths that´s come up over and over from that time is that bicultural marriage is tricky– but it´s often a built on a better foundation than many monocultural marriages. Let me explain. When you marry someone who comes from another culture, you´ve already spent a good deal of time learning about the odd/cool foods they grew up eating, linguistic differences, and their family life. Some of it is funny. Some of it has serious implications on your future life. Regardless of the differences you KNOW, without a doubt, that there WILL be differences. Many monocultural marriages assume that because their families seem similar it´ll be easy peasy. I have a hunch that´s not the case… eh? :)

    I mention this because in all the differences we´ve found and worked through from the families we grew up in, my husband and I have seen that we´re a new culture… not a hyphenated _____-American family, but a family in the culture of Christ. What Sarah has laid out here from Paul´s message is what we get to live as a family- and beyond that, in the Family of Christ- daily.

    • Amy J

      I love this so much – a family in the culture of Christ. I've often thought this, but have known not how to put it into words. Thank you, Missy.

  • Anna Buchanan

    I’ve loved the way these studies have been pointing back to Romans 5-8 and other Epistles. What a good reminder that the Word of God is sure, sound and cohesive. What an encouragement and beautiful means of grace our Father left for us!!

  • I really needed this message. Thanks so much.

  • Thank you Sarah for breaking that down. That’s a copy/paste one for me! Put it in my “notes” to read and with God’s will APPLY!! I love SRT!! Thank you for always supplying great biblical insight. I need it and I love passing it on to my friends in Christ.

  • Oddly two things come to mind as I've focused on the meaning here. One being our guinea pigs. I know odd, REALLY odd, but they come to mind because of their living circumstances. Nearly two years ago we adopted one. He was a great deal of fun and everything we read had said that they love community and it would be greatly important to have a companion, so we adopted another rather quickly. They hate each other. Every single time we put them near one another or give them a moment together on the floor it ends up in the massive exchange of ego and pride and neither will come down from the "I'm bigger than you are, bow to me" in guinea pig speak and they brawl, horribly. Fur flies, teeth gnash, and pigs roll….it's terrible. These two are destined to forever be in separate cages, never fully experiencing the companionship they likely crave and more than we can give them, especially on the days we are running and the most affection they receive is a food, water and clean bed check. We, in the faith, can be so much like that. Rumble strutting our way around one another trying to assert our opinion over other's. Forcing our way into the heads of those that will abide by our agenda, never fully being one or genuinely sharing life with others because we can't get over ourselves.

    Additionally, I'm a set of ears in a situation that is steeped in worldliness. I sit and listen to encourage and share Christ, but sometimes as I listen, my reasoning leaves momentarily and I want to strangle the one this trouble stems from. I want to examine ways to manipulate the situation so the offender sees wisdom and comes to his senses, I want to reach and touch someone folks and not in a loving way, my own personal rumble strutting rises up in my belly and I want to yell about the destruction being caused, I want to shake my fists at it and etch on the walls, "It's not about you. Quit 'feeling' and start seeking, quit 'doing' and start being." I start to go through the possibilities; If I do this, then…. If I say this, then… BUT I remember nearly instantly that no plan of mine will work. All I can do is sit and practice the 5 steps Paul mentions that Sarah refers to here;

    1. Rejoice in the Lord … am I, in the conversation, rejoicing God? Reminding myself and my friend of the Greatness of God.
    2. Practice Grace and Patience … Am I listening patiently and responding as such. Am I offering grace to the offender and my friend?
    3. Pray … am I praying through it, at all points am I giving it back up to Christ? Am I setting the example?
    4. Dwell on Him … Am I pointing fingers at people or am I pointing to God?
    5. Obey Him … Am I listening to what He needs me to do and not doing what I want to do? Am I going to react to my frustrations or am I going to let God lead and direct my steps, my words and my heart?

    Thankful for Paul's love of Christ, for His leading here, for the work of the early church, that God used him so wonderfully to share His word and love with the world. Prayerful that I heed God's word as Paul did. That I let God use me in conflicts and use the conflicts to change me. ~ B

    • Marcie

      I like your checklist even better than Sarah’s. It’s not about winning or losing but about reflecting God in the midst of the conflict. Can you imagine how different our world would be if we all took this approach?

  • bellissimanh

    Joy. We've all read it over and over… "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." (Philippians 4;4)

    Usually, that's the bit that gets remembered… but this morning I'm appreciating the context. This verse follows a plea for unity. Interesting. These two women in the church at Philippi were not getting along and right after Paul asks them to "agree in the Lord", he gives the command to "rejoice in the Lord".

    See the connection? It's hard to be angry with someone if your heart is filled with joy, isn't it? When we're focused on God and His goodness, we're not as quick to take offense (or give it, for that matter). Joy drives out discord. I could use me some of that. How about you? Let's resolve to rejoice today.

    • HelenWalksinAwe

      Thanks for making this connection — joy as the antidote to anger and discord. I need this in my heart!

  • Kelly_Smith

    "Let your reasonableness be known to everyone" (4:5). Sarah is right; we live in a conflict-inducing time. There are so many issues which require us to pick a side and hold up our sign. What if we put down our signs, stopped posting opinions on our walls, and just loved? "The Lord is at hand" (4:5). He is in us and He draws us together. Conflict over differences only leads to division among brothers and sisters. If we spend our time together seeking what is honorable, just, pure, lovely, and excellent, we can allow those heated arguments to melt away. Concentrate on what is "worthy of praise." I can only think of One who is worthy of praise. As we focus on Christ, our reasonableness will rise to the surface. Instead of prideful opinions and hurtful words, we can share in the humility of grace as we extend brotherly love.

    • DebBlack1

      The Lord has been showing me so many ways that our opinions are really tied to our perspective. In every area of my life, work, home, church, there have been conflicts and issues that are all due to one person having a different perspective and opinion than the other.

      This has been such a theme that I am planning to speak about it at our ladies event at church and likely to my employees at our team meeting.

      Kelly, I really appreciate your comments – you have put into words much of what I have been mulling over as I prepare to speak to these two groups that the Lord has blessed me to be privileged to lead. If we focus on what is worthy of praise, Jesus, our pride will fall away and we will stop being so hurtful!

      Thank you for sharing!

  • jillianeh

    This morning I realize the person I have an "issue" with is myself. Self-criticism and beating myself up over not meeting my expectations or the expectations of others so often steals my joy and causes me to worry that I don't measure up. Of course I don't measure up, because I am a sinner, saved by grace and in desperate need of Jesus!

    I've come to love the discipline of being in the word daily over the past five months but I realize that I do not take the time to pray and lift my thoughts, ask God for what I need, and fix my eyes on Him. Instead of beating myself up when I fall short, it's time to come to my Father in Heaven to settle my fears and leave my desires at His feet. That will enable me to walk in true peace and joy!

    • Judy

      I can relate. What has helped me a lot is to remember God doesn’t make junk! When I start criticizing myself, I am criticizing God and his work. He made me! I also read and say over and over Proverbs 31: 25-26. It reminds me who I am in Christ. Xo

      • Amy J

        Beautiful reminder, Judy. God doesn't make junk. I am part of His plan. :)

    • Amy J

      I also relate. I, too, read His word on a daily basis, but do not pray or lift my thoughts to Him. Praying for guidance in this.

    • Helen

      Hi Jillian. I hear you on two points. One: SRT has blessed and enabled me, too, to be much more in God’s word – nearly daily since I discovered it (really, God chased me down and discovered me with it!), but: two ; I’m not in prayer to match it. So (three) I still often just get so over (sick of) myself!
      Still: God made us, and he doesn’t make mistakes. He has a perfect plan, and we are redeemed for and within it.
      Bless you.
      Also … She Prays Truth?

  • carlybenson

    As a life-long worrier, verses 6 and 7 have always bothered me. People would quote these verses to me and it would frustrate me because I knew that was what the Bible said- I just couldn't do it. I think I commented along these lines when we were doing the Fruit of the Spirit study on Peace.
    Shortly after that, a situation I was worried about anyway got even more difficult and I felt that God was challenging me to deal with my tendency to worry. I managed to find something that worked for me so thought I'd share it in case it helps someone else.
    I got a box, and every time I was worried about something, I'd write it on a slip of paper, pray about it and hand it over to God, and then put it in the box. If I started to worry about it again, the box was a visual reminder that although the worry was still there I had given it to God. Every week or so I'd open the box and look through the slips of paper. Sometimes there were things where the situation had changed or I was no longer worried so I could thank God for those. Other things I was still worried about so I'd pray again and put the slips back in the box. It also showed me there was a common theme to a lot of the worries which I hadn't realised so it helped me to deal with the underlying stuff as well as the worries themselves.
    I also wrote out a selection of Bible verses that addressed some of the worries and focussed on God's power and faithfulness and I'd try to read these each day to keep my focus on God rather than the circumstances.
    It was a practical way of putting these verses into action that really worked for me. I'm not saying I never worry anymore but I have made a lot of progress with this, more than I could have imagined if you'd asked me 6 months ago, and there was one particular moment when I was faced with an unexpected difficulty that would normally have made me worry and instead I felt such a strong sense of peace that it could only have come from God.
    Sorry for the long explanation but I hope that's helpful to someone.

    • Tricia

      That sounds like a great idea!

    • rachel marie

      i might have to try this! i've heard the phrase, "give it to God and go to sleep." while i try to do this every night, the actual physical action of handing it over might help even more. thanks for the suggestion!

    • Cheyenne

      That is a great idea. Thank you for sharing, I’m going to try that myself. I am a worrier myself and it really bothers me because I know ultimately I’m saying I don’t trust God to handle something and I don’t want to be that way.

    • B.Lane

      Awesome! Thank you for sharing this practical and personal defense.
      The enemy too often uses fear that turns to worry that can consume my mind. As a mom, I try to justify worry as love.
      I am thankful that the battle IS already won. I am thankful for the grace that God gives me when I fail in trusting his sovereignty.

    • ~ B ~

      Love this Carly. What a great visual! ~ B

    • Anne

      This is such a wonderful idea. My daughter struggles with anxiety/ice and her counselor has her do the same thing. She writes down the worry on one side, and then they find a scripture to chase the fear away on the other side. That way, when my daughter feels that worry rise up, she can find the paper in her box, turn it around and have a verse right there to help her combat that fear. It has helped her immensely! But even in my own life, while I don’t have a box (although after reading your post, I’m wondering why the heck I don’t), I find myself combating my own fears and worries with scripture and prayer daily. Also, counting my blessings.

      A few months ago, our pastor preached a sermon on Philippians 4: 6-7. One of the things he stated has really stuck with me. This passage teaches that prayer + thanksgiving = peace. We have to submit our anxieties to the Lord, revel in gratitude over the promises He’s made to us that He works for our ultimate good, and simply be still letting the truths wash over us and enjoy peace in His presence.

      • Amy J

        I appreciate your insight, Anne. I will pray on this today – that I submit my anxieties to Him, that I revel in gratitude over the promises He made to us, and that I be still, enjoying peace in His presence.

    • Sylvia Reeve

      Thanks for sharing. Such a lovely idea. It’s a very tangible way of reminding ourselves that we have given our worries over to God. We could also label the box with a sign that says no fishing :)

    • Joanna

      Proud of you Carly! Thanks for the idea. As a fellow worrier, I am definitely going to try this.

    • Helen

      Brilliant. Thanks for giving such a great, hands-on application of focusing on God in the face of anxiety.

    • Amy J

      Love this idea, Carly.

    • Trisha

      When I read your post, I somehow saw “life-long warrior” not worrier at first glance. But I was thinking about it, and you are a warrior! Bravely fighting the enemies named Worry and Anxiety. Thank you for sharing your story. I am inspired to get a box of my own!

    • Marge

      I started doing this years ago and it is a very effective tool for habitual worriers! Our prison ministry now takes envelopes to our pre-release class to use as "worry pouches". It works!

    • Kristin

      From one worrier to another: Thank you for sharing. Great idea!

    • A PEACH IN ITALY

      I am a BIG worrier too! I have a God box as well. When I remembered to use it, it was a big help. Thank you for your post; it reminded me to use my God box again, and cast my worries in that box, instead of fixating on them.

    • HelenWalksinAwe

      And I've got my crafty project for the week. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Christy

      That sounds lovely!

  • aprilmcwhite

    I love how you helped us to see vs. 4-9 in context! I think I have always heard or read these verses in isolation rather than looking at what else is going on in this chapter (and even in context of the whole book). Paul specifically encourages us to rejoice in the Lord (not in our circumstances), do not be anxious, think on pure and honorable things, and continue in obedience to the Lord as a way to maintain unity and resolve conflict. What valuable tools and godly wisdom (James 3:13-18)!

Further Reading...