The first verse of this chapter is lovely. Paul address his readers as brothers and sisters whom he loves and longs for, then calling them dear friends. He tells them to stay firm in the Lord.
Theres also mention of Euodia and Syntyche, two women in the church who Paul addresses.
Then Paul reminds us again to rejoice. In face he says it twice. He tells us how to do it, pray with thanksgiving and not to be anxious about anything. He also tells us to be gentle to everyone. It’s interesting what Paul equates with rejoicing and what he doesn’t. Not being gentle and being anxious will rob you of joy. Praying, asking and thanking, brings reasons to rejoice. Then we will have peace which is incomprehensible in the situations we face. It’s also interesting that this peace guards and protects us.
Paul also tells us where to concentrate our thoughts. We are to think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.
Now in the previous post, I seem to have a bit of a rant about “positive psychology”. This is the idea that thinking about good things creates good things. But here it is, in the Bible. Paul thought about it first! It’s in fact proven that gratitude (or thankfulness) keeps you happier. And here Paul is saying it 2000 years ago.
However, given the context it and the words it uses, it’s pretty much telling us to place our thoughts on God, Jesus and all the good things they’ve given us. We are to think of all good things, and remember all good things come from God. Then, when we have remembered this, we can rejoice with thanksgiving.
Paul then tells us that he has learned to be content whatever the circumstances. And it’s no wonder. Paul has trained himself to do these things:
- rejoice always;
- be thankful;
- be kind to one another;
- look to God for solutions;
- think about good things;
- not to be anxious.
If we follow these steps, then I’m sure we can learn to be content in whatever circumstances too.