"Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice." Philippians 1:15-18
As we read Philippians, we read with the understanding that Paul is writing to the saints in Philippi while he was in prison for preaching the gospel of Christ. As we study Philippians 1:15-18 we see that Paul not only faced persecution from unbelievers, he also faced persecution among his brethren in Christ. Think about that for a moment. Paul is a believer and the brethren in Christ are also believers. The common connection that unifies them is Christ, so why would a believer experience persecution from another believer? Christians persecuting Christians?
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.” Philippians 3:1 (NASB)
Rejoice! To rejoice is to be glad in or about something. There are many things in life we can be glad in or become excited about. Our family, a new job, our spouse, an upcoming event, or a hobby can cause us happiness, but those things only bring temporary happiness. Many have experienced or know of someone who has on-going depression, sadness, and feelings of uncertainty based upon fluctuating and ever-changing circumstances.
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12,13 (NASB)
Life can be difficult and sometimes very painful. We all experience various circumstances that can lead to disappointment and regrets. At times we may question why certain things happen to us or to our loved ones or why challenges seem overwhelming or we may question the purpose for tough times.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)
Opportunities to become anxious bombard us daily at multiple times throughout the day. We become troubled or concerned about the unknown, as well as the known. It seems at every angle we are faced with matters that can result in anxiety. If we allow anxiety to grip our minds, we will begin to focus on what seems insurmountable and overwhelming; so much so, that we can forget that the Lord is near.
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,