Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
It’s very easy, when reading our Epistle reading, to pile a bunch of commands onto ourselves. There are certainly a lot of demands from God. We are to rejoice, be gracious, confident, prayerful, thankful, and peaceful. We are to spend our time and energy thinking about things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. We, like Paul, are to be content whether we have little or much. We’re told that Paul can do all things, and we ought to do the same.
It would be a natural step to feel inferior. It would be perfectly normal to despair. Yet that isn’t the purpose of this passage. Philippians is one of the most encouraging books of the New Testament! Why is that?
Let’s notice the promises. In verse seven we see that God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds. In verse nine we see that God will be with us. How is Paul content? He is content because in Christ he has all he needs.
Maybe we need to be sure we are thinking of God’s demands in light of his promises. What’s the source of our rejoicing? It’s the Lord who is near (verse 5). Where do we find graciousness, confidence, a desire to prayer, thanksgiving, and peace? It’s from the Lord who has rescued us from sin, death, and the power of hell. When we are burdened, when we are troubled, whatever our circumstances, we can call upon the Lord Jesus, who gives us all we need. When we see our failure, we look to him as the forgiving and restoring Lord. When we see our weakness, we look to him as our strength. When we think nobody cares, we look to him and realize that he cared for us when we didn’t even know who he was. All thanks be to God.
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