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Philippians Week Five

May 5-11, 2024

A Joy-filled Life

Podcast

Listen as the Speaking Team discuss Philippians 4:1-9 and a life of joy in Christ

Study Guide

Grow individually or in your group with a guided study through this week's portion of Philippians.

Read

Read Philippians 4:1-9 in Your Bible

Where do you find joy? Is it a sunny Central Oregon day? The smile of a loved one? In the company of family and friends? Alone on a hike along the river? Curled up with a book by the fire?

In this final chapter of Philippians, Paul tells us, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!” (4:4). He gives this encouragement in the middle of two other short sections. The verses before are an appeal for unity, and the verses after say to set aside worry. The cord that connects unity and setting aside anxiety is joy. But what does this mean for our lives? How can we find joy in the middle of conflict and worry?

Do you recall how Paul described the movement toward unity back in chapter 2? Using the Christ Poem, he highlighted how humility brought about unity, because by “looking out for the interests of others” (2:4) the community would reflect the humility of Christ.

Now here in 4:2-3, Paul calls out by name two members of the Philippian community who are having some sort of disagreement. Rather than mediating the conflict himself, Paul asks the community to help bring them back into unity with each other. This will certainly take humility, but once accomplished, the result will be a stronger, joy-filled community.

Paul then asks the community to live in its joy as it moves toward unity. This is reflected in what follows the call to joy: “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all that you do” (4:5). Joy impacts our unity, our attitude, and our worry.

From a place of joy, Paul gives us another of his famous quotes:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can under stand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Have you every struggled with deep worry or anxiety and someone has given you this verse? If we are honest, the advice to “don’t worry about anything” can seem trite, unrealistic, and even insensitive to some really hard things in a person’s life. But that is when this verse is seen as “advice” and not as a statement of the spiritual reality of life in Christ.

A Christ-filled life is one that is full of humility and full of joy. Our struggles and worries can bring us too close for comfort to humility, and yet in our suffering we can identify even more with the suffering of Christ. That is a joyous realization: that what Christ suffered brings us closer to himself. The joy is not in dismissing the worry, but in drawing closer to Christ, the one who takes it all on himself.

And this spiritual reality is what Paul is calling us into in verses 8-9. When we fix our eyes on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, what we are doing is fixing our eyes on Jesus. Jesus is the definition of truth, honor, righteousness, purity, love, and admiration. And the more we see Jesus in all these things, the more our joy grows, our unity strengthens, and our worry is covered by the grace and love of our Savior.

Reflect

Reflection Questions

Reflect on your own joy, and how joy can be challenged in the midst of life’s difficulties and worries. What is a truth of Jesus that you could fix your eyes on during those times?

How might your moments of finding joy grow into a lifestyle of sharing the joy of Christ with others?

Pray

Pray to yourself or aloud in your group

God of peace,
who brings comfort and stillness to my heart and mind,
when my worries and anxieties overwhelm me.
Instead of holding on, I let go and lay them at your feet.
I exchange my racing thoughts,
for thoughts of your calming presence with me now.

Pause. Take a deep breath and allow the presence of God to slow you down.
Think of something that is true.
Think of something noble.
Think of something that is right.
Think of something that is pure.
Think of something that is lovely.
Think of something that is admirable.
Think of something that is praiseworthy.
Notice how you feel in your body.
Thank God for his peace and presence with you now.

The peace you bring is not like the peace the world brings.
It goes down deep in my soul and settles in,
reinvigorating my trust in you,
energizing my love for you.

You are the calm in the storm.
You are the quiet in the chaos.
You are the Divine bringer of peace.
I rest in you now.
Amen.

Memorize

Add the bold section to memory each week

Philippians 2:5-11

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Westside Kids

Word of the Week: Peace

When things get tough, we can find peace by trusting in God. We can teach our kids to pray or take a moment to breathe when they’re feeling stressed. Knowing that they’re loved and cared for by God can bring them peace in difficult times.

Ask: How can you calm down and feel peaceful when things are hard?