Paul writes to a church who under pressure. In his letter he calls on them to stand firm against false teaching (Ch3), in the face of suffering (Ch 1) and when tempted to be selfish or greedy (Ch 2). You can’t stand firm if you are divide so in Ch4:2 Paul challenges two women to work out their differences in the Lord. It makes no sense when as christians there is a dicotomy between what we believe and what we say. We who have received God’s grace and forgiveness need to seek reconciliation.
Paul follows with three exhortations, to rejoice always, be gentle to everyone and to be anxious about nothing. We explore each one, discovering that joy is more than an emotion and is not dependent on our circumstances. Gentleness often accompanies someone who has joy and peace and knows that ‘the Lord is near’ ( will return soon). We find that the opposite of worry is peace and the antidote is prayer and trust in our heavenly Father who cares for us.
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