Thought for the Week - 26th AprilHelen Watkins
Philippians 4: 11-12
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.
12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
In such uncertain times, which we ourselves cannot put right, this scripture could not be more apt than it is for us right now, it should be in our very core.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he urges his brothers and sisters in Christ, ‘’Stay true for we are the joy and crown of Him’’ (4:1) … ‘’Always be full of joy in the Lord’’ (4:4) … How wonderful it is to be called that, Christ’s joy and crown, He loves us and is for us. In these days it is hard to be full of joy, to keep smiling and be cheerful, but putting on a smiling face is not what is meant here. Joy is a deep contentment, no matter what the circumstance, which can only be found in the deep presence of God. True joy in Christ can be seen, as can a put on smile, and people do notice the difference.
‘’ Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do’’ (4:5) … We are not always a considerate people, by nature we are selfish, make excuses to only do what we want to do and when we want to do it. As a body in Christ we are to be considerate, upholding one another in times of struggle. People may be relying on us; they may just need a word of kindness to help them through a difficult time. It is easy in times such as these to withdraw, hide and look after ourselves, but we must be there for each other, with consideration and gentleness.
‘’ Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.’’ (4:6) … Turn to God in prayer, not just the things we want answers to, but turn to Him in everything, pour out all to Him, converse with Him, hear Him and learn all what God would have for you in the situation you are in. We don’t always have our prayers answered straight away, nor in the way we want, and when we want, but God hears. He knows what we are going through, He knows all things, and you needn’t try to kick your way out of the situation you may be finding yourself in, for He has put you in this place for a reason. Would you learn what God has for you in it? There is no one else that can help us, and as all seems to come against us, we can say ‘’but God’’.
‘’Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus’’ (4:7) … Peace is what we crave, peace in our souls to calm, soothe and tell us everything is going to be ok. It is not what the world gives us through recreation, pastimes and people, but the deep abiding peace that comes from God alone. His peace is all we need to calm our troubled minds and anxious souls. Can you think of a time you had come to the end of yourself, finding no comfort? Gone beyond reasoning, searched though scripture, prayed and talked for hours with others to no avail? Then, in the presence of God, comes a deep peace, so calm, so sweet and so lovely. The gentle stillness of God that comes and sinks into our being, making all else pale into insignificance, this is the peace we crave. We need to guard our hearts and minds in these times, there is so much bombarding us in the media that will try to bring us down, and to this we must say, but God. We need to fix our thoughts on Him, to walk rightly and live according to his word and be fervent in our walk; free from the torment, unrest and anxiety that would seek to rob us daily.
‘’Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.’’ (4:9) … We may be going through turbulent times, but we must keep practicing what we have learnt, and keep learning all that God has for us to hear. We need to learn to be content no matter the situation, to live in Christ and lean on Him when we struggle. We need to learn to praise Him when things are good, and to kneel before Him in our anguish and when our minds are racing with the poison of the enemy, that we are unloved and unwanted. All we can do is throw ourselves on God Himself, feel His deep loving presence, given unstintingly, unmeasured and free. Wherever we are, and whatever we are doing, take a moment to find the presence of God. Practice daily, hold on, and do not let go. This is the time to put into practice, all that we have learnt and received.
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
He is with us, He is victorious, He has overcome the world.