Philippians 4:2-7 Harmony, Joy, Forbearance
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Paul takes opportunity to instruct the community on the importance of maintaining harmonious relationships in the midst of immense difficulties. Harmonious communities are better at coping and overcoming during times of great challenges. Make rejoicing intentional and to respond to one another with gentleness. A right attitude of prayer will release the peace of God that guards believers’ hearts and minds from the attacks of fear and confusion.
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Paul calls for help to arbitrate the disagreement between two god-loving believers who labored with Paul in the gospel. Obviously, Paul thinks that harmony between these two believers is important enough for him to mention in his letter. Harmony and peace in a community can easily be disrupted by a very small number of people. In many of such instances, the nature of the conflict is not doctrinal nor is it due to sin that requires Paul’s clarification or rebuke. Conflicts can arise because of the immense pressure that the community is facing with each member coping at different levels of maturity, personality and resilience. The community must step in to help resolve the conflict by providing objective and truth centered counsel.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Paul emphasizes the importance of rejoicing in the heavenly community in the midst of pressures and challenges. Rejoicing is an emotional response to something that is more substantial; an expectation that all things will eventually culminate in life and victory. The act of rejoicing is an intentional and deliberate act of putting into perspective the conflicts of the present. The absence of rejoicing is a sign that conflicts and problems are festering beneath the surface that can rob us of the treasures of a harmonious community.
A gentle or forbearing spirit gives space for others to make mistakes without being overbearing. It does not insist on every right of the letter of law or custom. A gentle and tolerant community is the distinctive of a heavenly community. A gentle attitude facilitates growth in others by speaking the truth in love, while being sensitive to the unique characteristics and learning curve of each member, for different folks require different strokes.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Paul encourages the community to do all to guard their hearts, and prevent themselves from succumbing to anxieties in the midst of immense difficulties. Anxieties can cause conflicts and destroy harmony within the community. Believers must cultivate the mentality of releasing their anxieties to God through prayer and expecting Him to intervene. The act of prayer releases what we cannot do to the all-powerful God and give Him the freedom to do what is best for us. Thanksgiving is an act of faith in celebration of God’s faithfulness in our circumstances. Having done so, the peace of God like an impenetrable guard will surround our hearts and minds keeping us from fears and confusion.
- People who give themselves unreservedly to God can some times mistaken preferences for principles and insist on their convictions. Preferences pertains to the unique personality and idiosyncrasy of each individual. While principles are unchanging, preferences changes accord culture and personality. Some times pride comes over people who presumes their way is the dogmatic way. Hence, they disrespect other’s opinions without careful listening and consideration, they confuse preferences with principles. Once they present their position, they felt shaken if they do not insist on their position. All parties should discuss their differences with the aim of understanding God’s principles better through the wisdom of one another. People must never to impose their preferences on another but to learn from one another by sharing experiences and convictions in a spirit of meekness.
- Some over zealous believers impose high moral standards of discipline on younger believers expecting them to conform to their prescribed standards very quickly. Hence, what is of good intention results in misconceptions and rejection. The issue is not about what is right and wrong, but how we can create accountability through a discipleship structure, through which we could create ample space for people to grow in the right direction.
- Harmony is the foundation of all the endearing qualities of a heavenly community. Harmony among members of the community is the seed of rejoicing and peace in the midst of difficulties. A harmonious community is better at coping with challenges than a quarrelsome one. The devil seeks to induce disagreements among individuals through which he begins to rob the community of all its treasures and beauty. Believers must endeavor to response with love no matter how one is treated.
- Prayer is not just the act of entreating God to intervene. It is the act of releasing to God what we cannot do and giving Him freedom to do what is best. Prayer is also an act of listening, to acquire divine wisdom as to what we could do concerning our circumstances.
- Do not be embroiled in any conflicts, but be aware of the devices of the devil when conflict arises. Destroy the devil’s work by being a peacemaker and respond with gentleness under all circumstances.
- Do you harbor certain convictions that are so rigid that you would not allow others to voice their opinion? The best way is to allow others to speak and maintain an open mind to listen and consider. Perhaps, you can win them over by your willingness to listen. Or perhaps, you can learn to see things from another’s perspective.
Dear Lord, help me to be humble, to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Use me to be a peacemaker and maintain harmony in my family and in my church. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.