Finding Peace in Anxious Times
When Paul wrote to the early Christians in Philippi, he did so primarily to thank them for the gift they had sent him while he was under house arrest in Rome (Philippians 1:5; 4:10-19). But, of course, his letter is more than just a thank you letter. Paul takes advantage of the occasion to communicate other matters on his heart. One of which was to encourage the Philippians to continue in faithfulness to the Lord—standing firm for the gospel—without fear of those who stood against them (Philippians 1:27-30). This sounds a lot like what we've seen from Peter in our series through 1 Peter!
As Paul approaches the end of his letter, he encourages the Philippians to press on toward Christ (Philippians 3:12-14), reminding them of their heavenly citizenship as they wait for their Savior (Philippians 3:20). Surely, there are times when this world fills our hearts with fear and anxiety, but pressing on with hope and waiting for our Savior is how followers of Christ "stand firm in the Lord" (Philippians 4:1). The gospel assures us that one day—soon—Christ will take us to our true home, and this great gospel-truth should fill us with godly confidence and joy.
Notice how Paul applies all of this to our daily living: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near" (Philippians 4:4-5, emphasis mine). In the midst of fearful circumstances, the near and soon return of the Lord makes all the difference in our hearts. And because the Lord's return is near, there is truly no place for anxiety to burden our hearts (Philippians 4:6).
We are living in such a time where many of us are experiencing fear and anxiety. The anxious wait for election results, the ongoing pandemic, the uncertainty of the future—all matters that can weigh heavy on our hearts. And yet, as we remind ourselves of our future hope in Christ and the assurance of our heavenly dwelling place with our Savior, the Lord replaces our fear and anxiety with his peace. Paul says it this way: "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
My dear New Life Family, allow me to encourage you today. Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty in the world. And sometimes, this leads us to mistakenly place our hope in things that offer no eternal security. But in contrast to all the world's uncertainty, there is a glorious truth we can rely on with great certainty: the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is what Paul encourages us to think about (Philippians 4:8). So, set your minds on Christ. Press on toward him. Stand firm with confidence in him. Continue waiting for his near appearing to take you home. And may his peace fill and guard your hearts as you do.
Resting in him,