In this chapter, Paul shares with the Church at Philippi key principles for enjoying peace with others, with oneself and with any and every circumstance. The principles are amazingly simple and yet profound when applied to our life and ministry

Peace with others

In vv 2 – 3, Apostle Paul instructs Euodia and Syntyche – two people in the Church at Philippi to agree in the Lord (v2). They are to stop disagreements and arguments (v2) and instead work together guided by the singleness of purpose. How important it is to have and maintain unity in fellowship!

Disagreements and arguments only bring disrepute to the cause of Christ. Paul reminds the two leaders – who have laboured side by side (v3) – that they can agree with each other because they both belong to the same Lord. The Church is called to provide help and support for the cause of unity (v3).

Paul encourages the Church to agree with each other because we belong to Jesus. We can be united because it is Jesus who is the unifying factor. Unity does not mean uniformity.

However, the singleness of purpose can guide our actions and reactions and we can maintain the unity of peace. The principle we glean from this chapter is: We can be at peace with one another because we worship the same Lord.

Peace with oneself

Anxiety and worry can disturb, if not destroy our inner peace. Most of our worries are due to imaginary fears and anxieties. How do we find peace amidst fears and anxieties?

Paul encourages the Church not to worry about anything – yes, anything! Instead, they are to pray about everything (v6). Such prayers and requests to God are to be offered with thankful hearts (v6). We often forfeit peace because we do not carry our concerns to God in prayer.

We can be rest assured that we belong to Christ and when we pray to Jesus, He will bless us with peace that no one can completely understand (v7). God’s peace will control the way we think and feel.

The second principle, we glean from this passage is: We can be at peace with ourselves because it is Jesus who listens to our prayers.

Peace with circumstances

In vv 11 – 13, Paul talks about peace with circumstances and coping with life’s adversities. Remember, this is one of Paul’s prison letters. Paul is in prison and yet, he has learned to cope with the various twists and turns of life.

Paul says, I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty (v12), what it means to be full or to be hungry (12b), and what it is to have too much or too little (12c). Paul has learned to live under all kinds of conditions – the extremities of life – through the strength that Christ provides to his people.

The third principle, we glean from this passage is: We can be at peace with any circumstance because it is Jesus who gives us His strength.

To ponder: Is Jesus the strength of my life?

Prayer: Dear God, help me find my strength in you, to agree with my fellow brethren and be driven by singleness of purpose. Listen to my prayer. Help me with the blessing of your peace that controls the way I think and feel. Help me rely on your strength that I may cope with the many adversities in life. Amen!

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Samuel Thambusamy is a PhD candidate with the Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life.