Key Verse: Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”
This key verse occurs in the context of verses 4-9, which my Day Unto Day New Open Bible has entitle, “Peace with the Lord”. Paul is again addressing the attitude, or the “mind”, that should characterize Christians. And, as was the case in chapter 2, his lofty words on attitude follow reference to petty differences within the church (4:2).
In verse 4 Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” It is interesting to note that “rejoice” in Greek was also used as a way of saying “Good-bye”. Paul is about to say “Good-bye”, and uses this double entendre to emphasize what the Christian attitude should generally (indeed — “always”) be: joy.
As verse five reads, this joy was to be expressed in “moderation” (KJV), “forbearance” (RSV), and “gentleness” (NKJV and NIV). The Philippian Christians were surrounded by a heather culture which misunderstood their strange Christians belief and practice. Rather than reaction defensively to misunderstanding and misrepresentation, Paul encourages the Philippians to respond with patience, if for not other reason than that “the Lord is at hand” (5b).
Let’s face it: if we believe “the Lord is at hand” (theologians call this “imminence”), then our attitude, values, and behaviour will be drastically affected. Prayer, thanksgiving, peace (vv.6,7), and excellent thinking (v.8) will naturally follow. Expecting the Lord at any moment has a way of making your day.