Reading Philippians chapter 4 this morning. I love when the Bible explains your thought life to you. It serves as a mirror for our mindset. We are made in God's image. He gets us... completes us.
This chapter, as I'm reading it, models a certain thought life. Thinking that connects the dots. The mold of Paul's mind matches our mold but his thinking is full and models what a full thought life looks like. Our world can be very disconnected but there are real lasting connections. We don't always feel them but once made they are there.
"Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." - Philippians 4:1-3 ESV
Paul is far away but he is entreating people to be loving to one another from far away. He sees needs. He sees faces and knows that God remembers names.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." - Philippians 4:4-6 ESV
Joy that has reasonableness, Epieikes (Strong's G1933) in the Greek, a thinking filled with joy... the same thinking that has a mercy that rejoices against judgement. Thinking that reveals that God is close by and in the room. He is at hand. Needs are not ignored or magnified... after all God is at hand to talk to and interact with. Needs are handled by gifts. Gifts come from God.
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." - Philippians 4:7-9 ESV
The gift of God lets this happen. This does not come by effort. When the reality of the gift of a restored moment by moment relationship with God is bubbling in us casting down imaginations and thinking in purity is the result. We choose. Then we choose again... and again. Our choices paint a peaceful picture one brush stroke at a time.
"I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble." - Philippians 4:10-14 ESV
Connections with people become a gift. A well pleasing gift.
"And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:15-19 ESV
These are prison epistles. Paul is isolated physically but not intellectually. His thinking must be derived from a different place. He can not live in the things he sees all day long... good or bad. Sound familiar to anyone?
There is a river flowing under the ground. Paul is tasting of that flow. The tree with deep searching roots finds the water. It is a needed provision for when the heat comes.
"To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." - Philippians 4:20-23 ESV
Grace gives God glory. The flow of praise is directed towards God because we know we have nothing and deserve nothing. Justice would have rightfully condemned us but Christ took our hit at the cross. Every connections is a gift when you know that isolation is what you deserve.
So we greet every Saint. We are aware of the Heavenly care that God has and we become the conduit to express grace in a dark world that is blind to it. Paul had needs and the Church at Philippi remembered him and their love to him was an expression of God's love. That expression is a window into God's thought life. Jesus is the doorway but our love is a window.
Hey, May the grace of God be with you today. My love to everyone reading this.