Phil 4:4-23 Rejoice! Redux.
4. Paul again returns to the theme of rejoice or to have joy in the Lord. He even repeats it twice. Then it seems that he begins a list of things that are intended to help support our ability to rejoice in the Lord.
5. “Let your reasonableness be known to all men” Reasonableness or forbearance- (always ready to yield, gentle, mild, reasonable, it is the opposite of returning evil for evil). It is the ability to bend and not break. This is greatly important for the Philippians because they were experiencing both persecution and betrayal in their midst. In order to secure joy in their lives, they had to lean on Christ and not necessarily take matters into their own hands.
The second half of the verse states that the “Lord is near” not necessarily that the Lord is coming soon but that He is closely present with us. We can afford to be gracious to everyone because Christ is with us (Farley).
6. “Stop being anxious” but with prayer and entreaty with giving thanks let your requests be known. Anxious is the same word used of Martha in Luke 10:41. Paul adds thankfulness as an important element to eliminating worry. Thankfulness is important because it fills the heart with gratitude and strengthens our faith.
Giving of thanks is at the heart of our worship as humans as within our Liturgy. The Eucharist means to give thanks. Our offering to God is ultimately an act of thanksgiving. In the anaphora, the priest says “Let us give thanks to the Lord”
7. The result of thanksgiving is that the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds.
8. Paul then gives us a great list of virtues and thoughts that will help in keeping joy in our lives. Thoughts are vitally important to the Christian and often form our spirituality. There is a whole Orthodox teaching on intrusive thoughts and the battle with them. However, it is enough here to point to two verses - Prov. 23:7; 2 Cor. 10:5.
Farley, “We should see life sacramentally as being crammed with the gifts of God and discerning God’s glory in the world.” The great example here is Paul’s example in the Philippian jail. Paul had just been beaten and unjustly arrested yet he offers thanks and praise to God.
9. Paul reminds again to follow his path. It is the sure path to bring God’s peace.
Verses 4-9 are the epistle reading on Palm Sunday. Why? As one member of our class stated, we are about to enter one of the darkest times of the Church. We are brought to the lowest point, yet we must not despair because joy is still available and will be poured out in its fullness on Easter Morning.
10. Paul begins to thank them for his gift.
11-13. Paul speaks to the needs that he has. He does not want to appear to be complaining about lack for he has learned to be content in whatever circumstances he is in. The reason is that Christ empowers him no matter what circumstances he finds himself. Contentment is not due to outward conditions but on the Lord.
14-23. He is letting them know that what was given by them was worthy of praise. Their gift has
benefited them more than it has him. It has given the Philippians the following:
1. Share is his afflictions. 2. fruit to their account. 3. offering to God (a sacrifice was given with hope of receiving divine blessing). 4. God will fill all their needs.