Finish Strong Part 3
Finish Strong Part 3
4:4. Paul’s second encouragement is to rejoice in the Lord. As the committed disciple considers Christ and His sacrifice for him, he should always be joyful for both the possession of eternal life and the opportunity to serve Him. Circumstances should not determine the level of joy in the life of the believer, for circumstances are often difficult and disagreeable. Relationship with Christ is the governing dynamic of joy. As the believer selflessly makes Christ his priority, selflessly rests in His positional righteousness, and purposefully lives for Him with an eternal perspective, joy will flow more naturally from a grateful heart and mind.
4:5. The third encouragement pertains to gentleness, a quality to be expressed toward all people. The context of this kind behavior is the imminent return of Christ: The Lord is at hand. This implies that the eager expectation in 3:20 will not be for long. The return of the Lord for the Church is always imminent. This is likely one reason Paul was not discouraged by his circumstances. He could always look forward to being with Jesus soon. This focus on the Lord’s return will steer a person away from a lack of gentleness toward people.
4:8–9. Paul’s fifth encouragement concerns input into the life of the believer. The same heart and mind that can experience the peace of God through prayer needs to have input that is morally virtuous. The spiritual life of the believer is significantly impacted by the things that enter it through the eye and ear. The four previous exhortations in vv 2–7 should not be done in a moral vacuum. They should be done in a climate of high moral ethics. Paul’s admonishment is to meditate on things that are righteous in the sight of God. But things of moral purity, such as Paul modeled for them, are not only to be internalized; they are also to be carried out in one’s life (cf. Jas 1:22). When this happens, the same God who provided peace to an anxious heart will also be with the believer.