In pursuit of baffling peace in our relationships, we are looking at 4 practical principles present here in Philippians 4:2-5:
Now let’s unpack,
3: “Hurting? Find Healing...
When I’m at odds with someone, rejoicing in the Lord is the last thing on my mind. But as I’m learning to put this practice in motion, I’m becoming more and more convinced that it may be the most effective antidote to relational discord. Let me show you what I mean…
Right after seeking help for Eudia and Syndyche, an exhortation to rejoice in the Lord followed with the reminder that the Lord is near appears. At first it seems disconnected to the relational advice before it. But as I looked closer I began to see it more as a prescription for healing their discord...and the relational discord I’ve faced too.
I have two huge reasons to rejoice even when I hurt or feel hurt in relationship:
1. Rejoice because the Lord is Lord.
In the middle of relational tension, small or big, I can get so wrapped up in with anxiety about who, how, why and what exactly went wrong that I can neglect to see the One who is right. God is right. The Lord always is. So instead of mulling over all that went wrong...or numbing over the pain of the relational tension...I’m learning to shift my perspective and spend some time rejoicing in God. Once I catch my mind stewing over a past conversation or some hypothetical situation, I’m learning to pause instead to count all the ways the Lord fills in the voids of that interaction. Recalling His faithful works and His loving character line by line frees my soul...slows down my anxious heart rate and eases my clenched jaw into a song of praise. The Lord is Lord and in Him there are millions of reasons to rejoice even when a relationship is all tangled up.
You and I have another huge reason to rejoice in the midst of conflict...
2. Rejoice because the Lord is near...
We were reminded before entering chapter Philippians 4, that we are citizens in Heaven, and that one day the King of Heaven will make all things new. Envy, competition, misunderstandings and false judgments - will be erased. Insecurity, past wounds, present fears, and false humility - will be thrown into hell. On that Day, all those who have believed will see Him as He is and be like Him - full of love. Perfect love. We will be with Him just as we were made to be - forever.
This is hope. See that ugly sin that drove our enemies to wound us? That is the same sin that God is committed to wiping away. He'll wipe away the tears that resulted from those sins too. Yes, God has the last word over all relational suffering. He will come to establish the healing of all the nations. This gives us reason to rejoice even now as we patiently await His return.
WITH US NOW
We rejoice that the Lord is near - coming soon to wipe out sin and death for good. But we also rejoice that He is even nearer...living in our hearts by His Spirit. One day we will be completely transformed when we see Him in His glory. But this day we are also being transformed by His Spirit from glory to glory.
We rejoice because the Spirit of God is in us to make that coming day apart of our every day. So we draw near to the Lord who is near. We seek His Spirit to fill us up so that we can bear witness to the beautiful relational unity that is ahead in the kingdom of God. For the “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” and...pause for effect, “...gentleness”...
...which leads to our next point, found in the next verse, Philippians 4:5: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Later this week, we plan to dive into the implications of this verse to learn how we can be gentle in a world so full of rage.
But before we do, let’s practice all the above in a situation we might be hurt and anxious over right now…[click here.]
*Photo credit: Starlights_ "Johnny Cash Hurt" @ Flickr, http://bit.ly/1x1NKhb.
Text and layer mine. Used with permission.