The word “therefore” signals a change, often a consequence or outcome of what has gone before.
In Paul’s letters to the churches, the word “therefore” often precedes instruction on how to live out the truth he has just shared. This is true in Philippians, chapter four, which he begins with the word “therefore”.
Chapter three describes the goal of the Christian – to know Christ (v. 10) and to press on toward His high calling (v. 14). Chapter four helps us understand what that looks like in daily life.
Therefore, here are a few of the ‘living it out’ principles Paul shares in chapter four.
- Stand fast in the Lord (4:1) – There will be those who oppose the truth and those who disappoint. I am to stand firm in what Christ has commanded.
- Help others (4:3) – Devotion to Christ calls me to be on the lookout for those who need a helping hand or a listening ear.
- Rejoice in the Lord always (4:4) – My rejoicing surpasses the circumstances of this life and focuses on my Lord. My heart can always find joy in who He is and what He does.
- Be sweetly reasonable in dealings with others (4:5) – The word moderation in verse 5 carries the meaning of sweet reasonableness. My stand in the Lord does not call for me to be abrasive or harsh.
- Pray about everything with thanksgiving (4:6) – Every. Thing. If I am busy taking my thoughts and cares to the Lord and thanking Him for His grace and provision, there will be no need for worry.
- Keep your mind on the right things (4:8) – The list here is comprehensive and requires my full-time attention: honest, just, pure, lovely, good. Those are the things for me to concentrate on.
- Practice contentment (4:11) – What a difference we could see if contentment ruled our hearts. I Timothy 6:6 calls godliness with contentment ‘great gain’.
Wow! Those are lofty ‘living it out’ principles, but if they seem impossible to live by, know that the strength and ability to perform these things will not come from our own reserves; they will come from the strength of Christ (Philippians 4:13), and He will supply all of our need (Philippians 4:19).
today is a good day to be busy ‘living it out’.
Philippians 4: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Photo – Setting Sail, Beth Mims