by David and Stephen Olford
Text: "The Lord is at hand" (Phil. 4:5; read verses 1-7 also).
Thought: For the Apostle Paul, as the believer awaits the return of his Lord there is to be the daily experience of life in Him. Thus the Lord is not only near chronologically, He is near experientially. So we find in these verses the secret of practicing the presence of Christ is consciously knowing:
Steadfastness in the Lord: "Stand fast in the Lord" (v. 1). In exhorting the saints at Philippi to such steadfastness, Paul employs words of deep affection and holy anticipation. "My brethren, dearly beloved and longed for," he says, "my joy and crown" (v. 1). Then he adds, "Stand fast in the Lord." "Stand fast" implies more than individual constancy. It is the steadfastness of the battle front, of the whole team; it is the steadfastness of the fellowship. It involves a oneness in standing together (v. 1), thinking together (v. 2), and working together (v. 3).
Joyfulness in the Lord: "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice" (v. 4). If we want to know the strength of stability then we must cultivate a joyfulness in the Lord which is conspicuous, continuous, and contagious. This joy must be heard in our song, seen in the light of our eyes, and recognized by the glow of our personalities. Let us never forget that joy is the fruit of the Spirit. If Jesus is Lord, then the Spirit fills, and where the Spirit fills, there must be joy.
Prayerfulness in the Lord: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (v. 6).
How many people are emotionally disturbed because of anxiety? Indeed, most psychological and pathological abnormalities can be traced to nervous tensions and emotional disturbances. How marvelous to know that our hearts can be stabilized in the Lord when we come to God in prayer. But prayer not only relieves anxiety, it achieves divine activity. Through prayer God works mightily. Prayerfulness in the Lord always receives a divine answer.
Thrust: Steadfastness, joyfulness, and prayerfulness in the Lord is practicing the presence of Christ.