28 Days: Day 9

SCRIPTURE

  • Philippians 4:4-8, 12-13
  • Philippians 4:5 (NIV) 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

OBSERVATION

 Epieikēs (gentle spirit) has a richer meaning than any single English word can convey. Hence, commentators and Bible versions vary widely in how they render it. Sweet reasonableness, generosity, goodwill, friendliness, magnanimity, charity toward the faults of others, mercy toward the failures of others, indulgence of the failures of others, leniency, bigheartedness, moderation, forbearance, and gentleness are some of the attempts to capture the rich meaning of epieikēs. Perhaps the best corresponding English word is graciousness—the graciousness of humility; the humble graciousness that produces the patience to endure injustice, disgrace, and mistreatment without retaliation, bitterness, or vengeance. It is contentment.

Gracious humility runs counter to the cult of self-love that was rampant in ancient society, and is rampant in modern society as well. But focusing on self-love, self-esteem, and self-fulfillment leads only to greater and greater instability and anxiety. On the other hand, those whose focus is not on themselves cannot be knocked off balance by inequity, injustice, unfair treatment, lies, or humiliation. They can say with Paul, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (4:11). Spiritual stability belongs to the graciously humble.
MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The – MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Philippians.

UNDERSTANDING

Attitudes are contagious. Spend a minute or two with a grouch and pretty soon you will find yourself complaining and fault finding. We have the amazing ability to influence the emotional state of those around us. So, with what kind of attitudes are we “infecting” the people around us? After spending a few minutes with us, do people come away from that time uplifted and encouraged or bitter and angry? How are we reacting to the everyday stresses of life? Are we confident of victory or resigned to defeat? If we are constantly grumbling, what does that say about our hope in Christ?

In today’s reading, Paul describes how he was able to maintain attitudes of peace and confidence in the Lord through Christ who gave him strength, regardless of the circumstances. How about us? Are the people around us seeing the same thing in our lives? God does not promise us that life will be free from trials and tribulation, on the contrary, Jesus promised us that we would face those very things. What God did promise us was that He would be with us through all of them, that He would give us the power to face them as overcoming conquerors and that He would use our attitudes to draw unbelievers to Him.

LIFE APPLICATION

I want to preach the message of God’s hope and victory as we maintain an attitude of joy and peace in all circumstances. How do your attitudes reflect on Christ and affect those around you?