Philippians 4

This devotional is written by Trissie Coleshaw. 

Philippians 4

Closing appeal for steadfastness and unity
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final exhortations
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.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for their gifts
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for 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.

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Final greetings
21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


Ephesians 4 is a beautiful reminder of how radical the Christian life is. Written from a prison
cell in Rome, where the Early Christians—Paul's community, his brethren—were routinely
tortured and executed, Paul was still able to find grace enough to call persecuted Christ
followers to 'be gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.' Such is the goodness of
God, and the glory of what Paul witnessed in Christ!

In this passage, Paul speaks of the 'sensitivity' that is lost in the hardening of hearts. What we
might take from Ephesians 4, therefore, is that by nurturing our love of God, nourishing it in
community with other Christians, and practising it ‘in unity in the faith’, we allow God to
make our hearts supple enough that we may feel His loving presence in even the most
unloving circumstances. Through this and by God’s grace, we develop the maturity of faith to
be able to share that love with others, even when times are hard, just as He shares his
unfailing love with us, no matter what.

And so, Christianity isn’t simply a lifestyle choice by which a few small adjustments generate
a deeper sense of wellbeing, as if it were a programme of daily affirmations, a 5/2 diet, or a
burpee workout regime. It is far more muscular than that! Instead, when we follow Paul’s
example, Christianity is the commitment to choosing forgiveness, compassion and service to
others in all situations – even when the way of love, as God designed it, is rejected. Indeed, it
is by choosing to live in conformity with the ‘righteousness and holiness’ of God’s
compassion that we are ‘made new’ by Christ, for we are ‘created to be like God’. What is
more, in our fidelity to the deep, trusting relationship we build with God through
faith—choosing His way at all times—it is even promised that we might come to attain ‘the
whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’

So, take a moment to thank God for the incredible opportunities He blessed you with when
He gave you life, and pray to be shown how you can bless someone else in need of
compassion today. Fill up on God's eternal and indiscriminate love, and give it out freely and
generously to others.

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