READ: Philippians 4:4-23
THINK: There’s an ailment that’s reaching pandemic proportions in America: chronic discontentment. People are changing careers, spouses, locations, hobbies and everything in between, yet nothing seems to satisfy. But there is a remedy. When Paul says, “I can do everything through him…,” he isn’t just talking about the things we can accomplish. Rather, he is saying that we can experience joy, peace and contentment through any situation by relying on Christ. Contentment doesn’t come from focusing on your own needs and wants. If Jesus is not the central focus of your life, then everything else will be out of focus and you’ll never be content. Contentment is not something you have to chase or earn. It’s something God gives to those who are in right relationship with Him.
RESPOND: What does it mean to “rejoice in the Lord” (v. 4), and why is Paul so emphatic about it? (See 4:4 note.) It what way is Christian joy a powerful example to others? What does it mean that “the Lord is near” (v. 5) and how should that fact affect your daily life? (See 4:5 note.) Why do you not have to worry or be anxious about anything? What’s the best remedy for worry, and why? (See 4:6.) Why should we pray in all situations? Why is an attitude of gratitude so important in prayer? In what ways can prayer benefit us even when we don’t understand what’s going on or don’t see the answers we expect? (See 4:7 note.) In what way does God’s peace guard your heart and mind? Why is your thought life crucial to having God’s peace? (See 4:8 note.) What kind of attitudes, issues and traits should occupy your thoughts? How can your thoughts influence your entire life? Why is it so vital to put into practice the things we learn (v. 9)? Why is it important for Christians to learn contentment, and what is the key to being content? (See 4:11 note.) What does it mean that “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”? In what way was the generosity of the Philippian church an example to all churches? (See 4:16 note.) What is God’s promise to generous and faithful churches and individuals? (See 4:19 note.)
PRAY: Pray for a constant awareness of God’s presence and power and for the opportunity to share His joy. Give God your worries and anxieties and thank Him for peace even when you don’t recognize the answers to your prayers.
ACT: Make a deliberate choice not to worry about something that has been bothering you lately. If you are doing what you sense God wants you to do, leave the issue in His hands, and accept His peace. Read or review the articles on Effective Praying, p. 446, and Campus Missions Commitment to Pray, p. 1744.