The Apostle Paul exhorts his believers in Philippi to rejoice even when one is in prison. St. Paul has a lot to tell us today concerning the Christian life, as he concludes his prison epistle (Philippians) especially in chapter 4:1-9. As we read this passage, we will find 8 keys to be-ing a Christian that I would like to share with you today.
1. BE FIRM — Paul encourages us as believers today to stand firm in the Lord. We are not to be led astray from the Christian life we have been taught. This can happen so easily in today’s world. We move at such a fast pace, we seldom realize what we have compromised faith-wise until it sometimes is too late.
2. BE FRIENDS — Paul addresses a serious matter of disunity with the Philippian church (v. 2-3). Two women, Euodia and Syntyche, have reached an apparent impasse over something within the fellowship. The cause of the impasse is not mentioned. It really doesn’t matter. The issue here is that a fighting church is not the church that Jesus Christ envisioned. Paul encourages us today to help one another sort out issues that may arise in the church in order to reduce the chance of controversy arising and destroying the fellowship of believers.
3. BE FULL OF JOY — “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice.” We often times fail to remember that Paul gave us that admonition while under some form of incarceration. Paul actually gave Praise to God in-the midst of a dire situation … could we do anything less!
4. BE CONSIDERATE — Paul has this vision of the Christian life as being one that is filled with the believer be kind and gentle. Christians are to be considered of others. Jesus gave us the example putting the needs of others before our own. In today’s world the Christian is called on to model the Christian faith by being gentle and kind in our behavior. This is one of the best ways to influence people in coming to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.
BE CONFIDENT — Confidence is the opposite of worry or fret. The Christian is to avoid worry and be confident in the Lord Jesus Christ. Confidence comes as the result of prayer. The prayer described by Paul includes both a petition and thanksgiving. It also calls on us to have faith that God is able to work in all situations that we are involved in.
6. BE CONFINED IN GOD’S PEACE — Paul reminds us to recall the statement that Jesus made to His followers. Jesus told them, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27). This peace, Paul is reminding us of, is beyond the understanding of our world today. Yet, Jesus still offers the same peace today as then.
7. BE A RIGHT THINKER — Right thinking produces right living, In Proverbs 23:7, we find the following, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Paul here is reminding us today that the believer is to fill one’s mind with the thoughts that are pleasing to God.
8. BE A PARTICIPANT AND NOT A SPECTATOR — Paul here is challenging the believer, then as now, to get out of the stands and participate in the Christian life (v. 9). Here Paul boldly challenges them to model the life he has lived before them. How many of us could say to a new convert, “live as I live”? It is a call to participate in the struggle called living the Christian life.
When we do these simply eight things, the peace of God will be with us. We need to remember that none of us can walk the Christian journey alone. God is always there to-guide us and to strengthen us whenever we call upon Him. (Taken from a sermon by H. Wayne Ballard Jr.)
May God bless … and have a faith filled week.
Dr. Charles M. Wood, II is an accomplished instructor of psychology and religion. He is a Christian counselor in Logan — serving, ministering, and donating his time to people from all denominations.
If you would like to contact Dr. Wood, please write: The Logan Banner, c/o The Good Life With Dr. Wood, P.O. Box 720, Logan, WV 25601. All letters addressed to Dr. Wood will be forwarded to his office.