Finding Peace, Hope, and Joy ( A look at Galatians 4)Family journey
I have been thinking a lot about my friends and family.
Especially the ones who seem to struggle day in and day out with no long term peace.
Maybe like them, you struggle with a close relationship with God. Maybe you pray and read your Bible, but just aren’t sure if it makes that much difference. Maybe you have days where you feel really encouraged by scripture and other believers, but more often you just aren’t sure about your faith.
Maybe you have a strong faith and good church, yet you feel like something is still missing.
I have known all those feelings too. But a few years ago, I felt the LORD call me to dig deep into His WORD. The decision to do that changed my life forever.
You see there is a peace that truly passes all understanding. Let me show you in the WORD. The book of Philippians is a great place to start. I want to look closely at chapter 4 of this letter.
This chapter in Philippians has a few commonly quoted verses in it. So, let’s take a look and see what the writer meant when he wrote these verses, whom he wrote them to, and how we should apply them. Let’s start with the first word in chapter 4, “THEREFORE.” This word means all the things I say next are because of what I just said. So, we have to know what the writer, Paul, just said. We have to look back at the rest of the letter of Philippians chapters 1-3 and see what the THEREFORE refers to. So take a minute and read chapters 1-3 to yourself. They are short it won’t take long, but read it.
A quick glance at chapter one we realize Paul, along with Timothy, is writing this letter to the whole church including the leadership. We see he is reminding them of his love for them, and telling of his personal struggles to spread the Good News throughout the world. He encourages them to stay strong and to be united in love. Verse 27-28 “27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.”
Chapter 2 has the core point of Paul’s letter to this church….
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any[a]affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing [c]from [d]selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, 7 but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will [i]prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you [j]appear as [k]lights in the world, 16 holding [l]fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.”
Then in chapter three Paul says to watch out for those who are deceiving and leading people astray, and to hold fast to the truth. Then he says, “17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their[l]appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20 For our [m]citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform[n]the body of our humble state into conformity with [o]the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
And this final reminder of what Christ has done for them is what leads us to the therefore of chapter 4. Because of what Christ has done for them they need to stand firm in truth and unity.
Philippians 4 NASB
4 Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to [b]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 [c]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 [d]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Throughout the whole letter Paul continues to say to the church rejoice. These are hard times and a lot of suffering is happening in the church, world, in their individual lives, and in Paul’s life. But Paul wants them to know no matter what is happening in this world they need to rejoice in the LORD. They need not worry or fret, but rather pray and trust in the LORD. When they do this they will have peace that comes only from God, the peace that is greater than all their worries.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [e]lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, [f]dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Here is the key to how to live in continuous peace and hope. We are to remain in truth, honor, righteousness, purity, love, good repute, excellence, and praise worthiness. Paul says remain in the teaching that you received from us. This will bring PEACE.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak [g]from want, for I have learned to be [h]content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things [i]through Him who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the [j]first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the [k]profit which increases to your account.18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am [l]amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus [m]what you have sent, [n]a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply [o]all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be the glory[p]forever and ever. Amen.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
I hope you have read all the verses above and pondered them. I hope you didn’t just skim (like I sometimes do). Maybe you read them all, and you were like, I know this stuff.
Or maybe you read them and you’re like…
What is righteousness? What is Truth? What is Honorable? What is Pure? What is lovely? What is of good reputation? What is excellent? What is praise worthy?
Those are excellent questions and the cool thing is the Bible has the answers. In our world we have decided in our own minds what is good and right, but if it is not what God’s WORD says is good and right it will NOT LEAD US TO PEACE AND HOPE.
So, the answer to finding eternal peace, joy, and hope is to read, learn, know, and live the TRUTH OF GOD’s WORD.
IF you have never read the whole Bible or if the thought of reading the whole Bible overwhelms you. Start with the TEN COMMANDMENTS. They are found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. Read each one and really meditate on what it says, and how you can live it out. If you are motivated look up verse in the New Testament that go with these verse, see what Jesus said about each command.
Another great way to learn what God calls truth, righteous, and holy is to simply look up these words in your Bible and read every verse in context.
If we want to have peace of mind, hope for tomorrow, and joy that abounds, we must Walk in the WAY of the LORD.
If you want to talk more about how to walk in Truth. I love to talk Bible so call, come over, or join our local fellowship on Saturdays in Perry from 12-3 each week.
May this post encourage and bless you.
Written by Katie
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