It doesn’t feel like long ago we preached through Philippians!
There’s a clear Biblical pattern to resolving conflict, upset and disagreements that Jesus gives in Matt 5 and Matt 18
- Whoever is at fault – go. Go first to sort it out
- If that doesn’t work, take a friend (not tell a friend, take a friend!)
- If that doesn’t work, get the leaders involved
- Tell the church (not a ring around gossip!)
Euodia and Synteche need some entreating! They have gone nuclear and even Paul hundreds of miles away in Rome has heard of their disagreement. He urges someone in the church to help these dear ladies, fellow workers for the gospel to get on.
How to be full of joy
Rejoice is a command. We are command to be full of joy. Joy doesn’t depend on circumstances, it’s a fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives, irrespective of the circumstances.
Paul lists some of the practicalities of joyful living
Be reasonable – as we get older becoming cantankerous is not a virtue. Growing in reasonableness is.
Do not be anxious – in the main worrying is a choice and robs today’s joy with tomorrow’s troubles.
Pray a lot – asking and thanking God.
Allow God’s peace to guard your heart and mind. Again it is a fruit of the Spirit and is above understanding, so that you can be at peace in the midst of horrific circumstances.
Think about the good stuff. Stop dwelling on negativity and the past – think on things that are pure, lovely, commendable and worthy of praise.
Copy and practice what godly leaders do.
I always find this next bit a little awkward in Philippians. It’s a thank you for a gift letter that comes across as somewhat ungrateful! And Paul is the apostle of gratitude – thanking and talking about thanking more than any other ancient writer.
It’s awkward because Paul starts of by using it as a teaching moment about being content in all circumstances whether in plenty or need.
Then he does express how kind it was for them to share. He is particularly grateful that their gift will be credited to them because of the fruit that it will enable. He expresses that he is well supplied and that it was a fragrant offering and an acceptable offering to God.
Paul ends the letter with typical greetings – including those of Caesar’s household. All those guards who have got saved chained to him as a captive audience. That’s joy in action. Using being chained to a prison (more likely house arrest) guard as an opportunity to share the gospel every day!