This letter is full of Paul’s infectious joy! Whenever these inspired words are read, it is like the Spirit inside is dancing in delight. While you read this letter, consider the fact that Paul was in prison, chained to a guard as he wrote it. His words are a bright light of hope for all. Since he had been set free “in Christ” no human chains could imprison his soaring spirit. Roman guards came around Paul’s cell to hear him preach. As the Roman’s heard the gospel, they too spread the good news! “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (4:4) In the midst of our suffering, we too can rejoice in the truth. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) But I live on earth where bad things happen. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (3:20)
Joy is a quality that expands in a heart that hosts the Holy Spirit. As we allow ourselves to be tutored by the Holy Spirit, He responds with joy as He gives us a certainty about which direction to go and what thoughts serve us best as we go. Drink in deeply the life giving words in Paul’s letter. Let them satisfy your thirst for truth. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.” (1:9)
Abound, leap forward in the knowledge of God’s love for you. Allow the Holy Spirit to take you to the depth of His power in you. Breathe in the full revelation, the insight, the internal awareness of God’s plan for you. By faith, you are able to discern, and wisely choose what is best. That you are found pure and blameless until Jesus returns! Daily instruction is required of each student in the school of the Spirit. “Be still” ask and listen! The essential skill necessary to be effective as a Christian is to be still, and to listen and hear what the Spirit is saying. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – THINK about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (4:8-9)
What was Paul thinking about while in prison that could be so noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy? He must have been thinking about Jesus! The encouraging words of Paul restore us to sanity whenever the prince of the air interrupts our focus on what Jesus did for us. God’s Word always sharpens our hope in Christ as our soul is renewed. The truth cancels doubt, fear or worry. “Not that I have already attained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Paul emphasizes that it does not matter if the gospel is shared out of selfish motives or out of a noble purpose. The only important thing is that the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ be shared, no matter the cost. “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (3:8)
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (Ephesians 1:17)
We are to ask our Father for more wisdom, faith and revelation and He will deliver it!“I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power. You have made known to me what we asked of you” (Daniel 2:23) When Daniel was in the lion’s den, and when Paul was in prison, they asked and the Lord delivered them from fear! “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8) If your mind is divided between belief and unbelief, ask God to deliver you into the truth. If you home is divided between hate and love, ask God to reveal His love for you. If your city, or nation is divided, humble yourself and pray to God and confess the sins of your city or nation like Nehemiah did.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25)
THINK about Who is noble, all powerful, and able to change all things for His glory
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
All rights reserved.
(click on BLOGGER TAB “Books of Bible” for the rest of the story)
“It is finished.” 4/20/19