August 5th, 2021
Trust is one of those Christian values—like love, joy, or forgiveness—that sounds really good in the abstract but doesn’t actually mean anything until it gets applied to real-life situations. In this Philippians Scripture, Paul instructs believers not to worry about anything. Sounds great until we actually have something to worry about!
In the context, Paul is addressing a conflict that has erupted in the Philippian church between two of its members, Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2). Paul urges these women to agree with each other and he instructs the church to help them work through their disagreement. Why? Because of what is at stake: the church’s mission to tell people about the Good News of Jesus (Philippians 4:3). Trusting the Lord in our conflicts empowers us to pursue peace with othersand enables us to live as witnesses to the real-life truth of the Gospel in the community of God’s people.
In these difficult, raw, real-life scenarios, trust in the Lord is critical. When we let fear and worry enter our thinking, we assume the worst about everyone and everything. Our fight-or-flight responses are triggered and we end up responding in ways that worsen the issues and damage relationships. We begin to “look out for number one” and forget that our God reigns over everything. Paul counters fear by saying “Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy” (Philippians 4:4).
Choosing to trust God opens our minds and hearts to unimaginable opportunities that our difficult situations bring. We begin to look with anticipation for where the Spirit of God is moving and working in our lives. In trust, we are able to listen more attentively to others so that we learn from their perspectives and appreciate the value their differences bring. We can make space for them in our lives and our communities without fear that we will lose something of ourselves in the process. Such trust in the Lord opens up beautiful new vistas of God’s good reign in the world around us!
The kingdom of God that broke into our world through Jesus, our Savior and King, is expanding to all corners of the cosmos as His people live and tell others the Good News of Jesus. We are called to that glorious purpose! Every conflict, every tough situation, is now subject to the eternal reign of our good heavenly Father. And He is working through all of them to advance His kingdom (Romans 8:28-29). So, we can confidently trust God, even in our problems, and respond in ways that acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). With that in mind, Paul encourages us: “And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will protect your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. Brothers and sisters, continue to think about all that is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected… And the God who gives peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:7-9)
By Lee Carter, Bible League International staff, Illinois, U.S.
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