Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. This is Paul’s call to the Philippian Christians in Philippians 4:5.
Paul is providing this injunction in the context of the disputings in the church at Philippi. It seems from the early verses of Philippians 4 that good gospel workers were prejudicing the progress of their good work by their fraught relations with one another. Relationships prosper when there is a proper give-and-take over issues which are not essentials to the maintaining, proclaiming and furtherance of the gospel of Christ. When there is a reasonableness between Christians then love is manifest and sweet fellowship developing.
Hence we have Paul’s call for this sweet-reasonableness. This word (epieikes in the Greek) can also have the meaning of gentleness. In the reality of life it means that I am willing to give way on issues; I am not always seeking to defend and protect myself. I will willingly make myself vulnerable so that others can have their way.
Underlying this attitude is the discernment of what really matters in life. To give up essential truths about the Christians gospel, such as the eternal Sonship and deity of Christ is not being sweetly reasonable.
For us to be truly sweetly-reasonable in the maelstrom of the issues of life is contingent upon us being relentlessly aware of the final statement in Philippians 4:5; that is “The Lord is at hand.” Why should I be continually fussing about what might happen if I don’t do this or that, or if i don’t have this or that. What if someone acts in such a way so that I am left in a perilous financial position? In such situation we have no need to fret because The Lord is at hand. He is right there looking after you, so don’t get hung-up about winning every petty little battle. The Lord is there and He will look after you and He is THE LORD. He has all things under his control.
And finally, as I have written about here don’t forget that very few things are the end of the world. So keep being sweetly reasonable.
By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. These are Pauls’ words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:14. In the context they refer to the need to be good custodians of the faith once delivered to the saints (see Jude 1:3). We are to watch over the truth of God like security guards guarding vaults of gold bullion. This is a task that God has called all believers to, but especially those, like Timothy, who hold a position of responsibility in the church.
What is striking about the injunction though is the fact that this responsibility can only be carried out by the Holy Spirit. This is that precious Holy Spirit who has residence within every true believer in Jesus Christ. This special gift is also the essential enabler of all that we do for God. To rely on ourselves for the requisite strength to undertake the works and service that the LORD calls us to, is a recipe for failure. Timothy can only keep this deposit of truth if he relies on the Holy Spirit.
This is true not only for Timothy, but for all of us. Moreover, it is true not only for guarding the good deposit, but for any task we are called to by God. To speak of a self-dependent servant of the Lord is an oxymoron. A true servant of the Lord is always fully dependant upon the Lord. Every time I engage in any activity for the Lord I should stop and ask: am I relying on the Holy Spirit in doing this.
I suggest, though, that this can go further into all aspects of living for God. Anything and everything, whether of the most menial or major tasks, should be undertaken in Holy Spirit dependency. Which raises the question: how can I know I am depending on the Holy Spirit? To which I offer the reply, it is through:
- Prayer. Seeking the Lord for the task in hand.
- Asking. Actually saying to the Holy Spirit; I need your help.
- The Word. If we are not acting in live with the precepts and principles of the Word then we will not have the Holy Spirit with us.
- Fellowship. Sharing with others about what you are doing, having them pray for you, receiving their rebukes and counsel are all helpful. Through these means we will be being pushed into the Holy Spirit’s way.
I have a desire, most of which is wholesome to keep-up-to-date with the news. My habit, for better or worse, is to go to the BBC website for this.
I have recently pondered upon how much I just obtain news information for information and/or entertainment. There is nothing essentially harmful in that. However, I am left wondering about the issue of actually praying the news. Would it not be far more wholesome to use my acquired news information to pray to the Lord about those items. To pray:
- For people in need.
- For crisis situations around the world.
- For the extension of the gospel in different parts of the world.
- For many to be converted to the Lord in these situations mentioned in the news.
And as we pray we can weep and rejoice over the situations we observe.
I am going to seek to do this. I trust it will revolutionise my approach to the news and make following the news it a far more beneficial activity.
Here in the recent edition of Evangelical Times is a sane article about the devastating impact of depression. I wrote here myself about the realities of my own experience.
As I move on into life without the rigours of depression it is easy for me to forget the traumatic reality of the experience. A four day spell last month was once again a reminder of how debilitating depression can be.
The comparisons in Mr Thomas’s article are salutatory and most helpful. Broken minds can be more devastating than broken legs.
Oh those days of old when I was first saved. Days when you had your own Bible and took it to all the services / meetings. You read it at home and when speaking with others about His ways. Those days when you knew where different things were on the page even if you could not exactly remember the chapter and verse. And in your searching for something you would alight on it and be thrilled to be drawn back to a truth that had been used of the Lord to bless you in the past.
But now it is so different: we have pew Bibles and phones. We can go to church without our own bibles and knowing there will be one in the pew. Or we just don’t need a Bible at all; we have our phones after all and we can just click it up.
I understand the value of pew Bibles; they give a version of the scriptural text which is readily accessible to all visitors. All can follow along with it in church. Everyone has opportunity to see immediately what is being considered in the Word being studied / preached.
I understand the value of your phone. They are the means which are to easily at hand for the Bible to be read. So many, youngsters in particular, use it as their initial point of accessing information.
Nevertheless, I feel I have lost something by easily slipping away from having my own Bible which I, in a sense, grew with in the Lord. And when one was worn out I would by another and live with that text.
Earlier today I was listening to someone reading the Word, John 1 in fact, and in my minds eye I was seeing the text on the page. I am pretty sure it was the lay-out of my first Bible after I was converted
Here is our church newsletter for February 2020. It contains an article on sex.
Our Lord said to the scribes and Pharisees: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! (Matt. 23:23-24). The question this statement raises is that of the emphases of our faith. Are we people who focus on the externals or on the matters of the heart?>
Our Lord is not saying here that this is an “either / or” issue. Neither is He saying it is simply a “both / and” issue. What he is saying is that both the externals and the heart issues should be in our lives. But beyond that, that we should be aware that the heart issues are weightier and of more consequence than the externals.
A religion which specialises in the correct external paraphernalia is a malformed religion. The proper arrangement of our affairs should be known and visibly on display. However, in our faith there should be a lot more than just the externals. A faith that acts with only the outward is dry and moribund.
Our faith rather should have a joy in the internally derived, Spirit energised workings of justice, mercy and faithfulness. These are beautiful characteristics in the life of a human being. They are the embodiment of everything that our Lord Jesus was. To have such a life coated with the right tithing techniques is beautiful.
There does seem to be the type of person in our churches who can by their emphasis on correct practices appear to be impressively spiritual. After all they seem so keen to implement the Bible. However, when you analyse their conduct a little more discerningly, you realise that their faith does not dig into the weightier matters of character development. Such people are more to be equated with the Pharisees than our Lord Jesus
To just have the right tithing techniques leads to an ugly and unattractive faith. So am I displaying straining of gnats and swallowing of camels faith? Lord please may it not be so. Help me to show a beautiful potency to my life whereby the realities of my heart lead to a well-ordered life. Please work to that end Lord.