- Phil. 1:1-4:23
The fourth letter that Paul wrote while under house arrest in Rome was to the Christians in Philippi. The Philippians were one of the first congregations that Paul started when he preached the gospel there in the region of Macedonia. The Philippians had contributed money and other supplies to Paul’s needs multiple times, and they had sent a brother named Epaphroditus to Paul to bring him things he needed while in Rome.
This letter is a beautiful reminder of the fellowship that Christians enjoy with one another in Jesus, the attitude that we should have which is patterned after Jesus who left everything in heaven to give Himself upon the cross for us, and the need to live peacefully and unified with one another. For today’s devotional I’m going to focus on the encouragement Paul gives regarding rejoicing despite our circumstances.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Phil. 4:4-7 NIV)
Paul gives these instructions and then reminds us that he writes these words while imprisoned.
…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
(Phil. 4:11-13 NIV)
Just like Paul, we might find ourselves in prison one day because of our faith in Jesus. Or we might be facing financial problems, family relationship problems, or some other life crisis. At the time it might seem like the biggest problem, and it might be really difficult to rejoice, but we need to refocus on the truth that, in Jesus we have the promise of eternal life and we can do all things through His help. When we remember those things, it’s easy and natural to rejoice, regardless of where we are in life.