A Quick Summary of Philippians 4:10-23

We’ve come to the end of the YMI Reading Philippians devotional, and we hope you’ve been benefiting from the devotions so far. Here’s a brief recap of some key lessons from Philippians 4:10-23.

All in One Family

Day 30 | Today’s passage

Philippians 4:20-23

When a girl in my church was diagnosed with cancer and went through a difficult surgery, her mother stood in front of the congregation, her eyes filled with tears, her voice breathless, and her hands holding her Bible tightly.

Before she talked about how the surgery went and testified of God’s unfailing love, she thanked everyone who remembered her family and prayed for them.

Whenever I hear people share about how God has helped them through hardship, I notice that they always thank those who prayed for them, but I dismissed it as just common courtesy.

It was only after going through a rough patch in my life that I understood how much it meant to know that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who are praying for you. During that time, my youth group wrote notes to encourage me and let me know that they were keeping me in prayer.

One note that especially touched my heart was a handwritten letter from a dear friend in a faraway country who reminded me to take heart and rest in God’s love and faithfulness.

That was when I realized that nothing is more comforting than knowing that your friends are united in heart and mind with you, rooting for you, cheering you on, and fighting your battles with you.

That’s what Paul is doing in his final words to the church in Philippi as he encourages them to “greet all God’s people” (v. 21) and sends on the greetings of other believers to them. Besides Paul, there was also the “brothers and sisters” who were with him in Rome (v. 22), which includes some in Caesar’s household, and possibly even the guards who were watching Paul in prison and had turned to Jesus.

Here, he is reminding them that they have brothers and sisters “in Christ Jesus” (v. 20) not just where they are, but in other parts of the world as well—a fellowship of people who share a common bond with them, are united in the same mission of sharing the gospel, and are praying for them.

Even though the Philippians were geographically separated from these brothers and sisters, Paul’s letter begins and ends with exhortations and references to the community of believers, showing us a picture of what it means to be part of the body of Christ. He starts by thanking God for them (Philippians 1:3-4), and then goes on to share his concerns for them through his exhortations for unity (2:1-4), as well as acknowledging their concern about Paul’s imprisonment and Epaphroditus’ health (2:25-30).

The mutual encouragement that we see in the book of Philippians is a model for our lives today—and it’s not just about encouraging each other with a string of nice words, but stirring one another to love and good works (2:1-4), walking with each other through the different trials we may face (1:27-30), and reminding ourselves to keep our eyes on the ultimate prize (3:12-14).

Throughout the book of Philippians, we’ve also seen Paul draw our attention to the fact that we are able to do this not through our own strength, but because it is God Himself who enables us to stand firm in spite of oppositions and conflicts (4:1).

Think of everything you have read in Philippians and consider the things Paul said to the Philippians that have greatly encouraged you. How can you “greet” and encourage those with whom you have a bond of fellowship—whether in your own church, community, or even your fellow brothers and sisters in other parts of the world?

—By Carol Lerh, Singapore

Questions for reflection

  1. How has your Christian friends encouraged you and spurred you on? Consider writing them a letter, email, or text message to thank them for their encouragement and fellowship.
  2. Think of one thing you can do to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ this week.
  3. Reflect and meditate on what you have learned about fellowship and standing firm in Christ through the book of Philippians. What are some lessons you can start putting into action?

Artwork by Lydia Kathleen @letteringwithlydia

About the author

Carol likes to think and one of the things she constantly thinks about is the height and length and breadth and depth of God’s immeasurable love. The other thing Carol likes to do is write.

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How Much Are You Willing to Give?

Day 29 | Today’s passage

Philippians 4:18-19

When I was applying for permanent residence in the US, I sensed God leading me to go to China for short-term missions. I wasn’t sure if I should heed it, but through a series of events and some scriptures, it became increasingly clear to me that I was to go.

This was risky for me because of my pending immigrant application. Going to China also required me to take an extra trip to Canada to get a visa. I did not want to raise support for China, because I found it hard to ask others to part with their hard-earned money. I wanted to pay for the trip myself, but I only had enough for Canada. I was in a wringer, but I knew, without a doubt, I had to go.

Thus I went to Canada and used up most of my savings. The moment I landed back in the States, I received a call from a friend, who told me how God had led her to give me her first, full salary after not working for the last 20 years.

I erupted into tears when I heard this. God’s love washed over me through my friend’s act of obedience and generosity. It was a humbling taste of God’s providence. Not long after, my friend’s husband whom she had been praying for for years, accepted Jesus and became a believer—God’s provision for her went beyond what money could afford.

Two years after China, I went full-time in missions to serve with my husband in Thailand, certain of His provisions. Almost eight years since, we are still in Thailand. We have never been in want.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippian church, we see that when Paul left Macedonia and was later imprisoned for his faith (Philippians 1:13), God provided for his needs through the Philippian church, the only church to consistently do so (4:14-18).

While Scripture leaves us with no record of the Philippians’ financial state, we can be sure that it must not have been easy for them to share in Paul’s troubles. But to the Philippians, it was such a privilege to be in fellowship with Paul for the gospel that they were willing to do so. Paul commends them for it and writes that their generosity was a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God (v. 18).

As a result, in verse 19, Paul encourages them that, “. . . my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory.” As children of God, the Philippians (and my friend) probably rested in the assurance that He will supply all their needs—and that enabled them to give even the little that they had.

So just as Paul assures the Philippians with God’s promise of provisions on verse 19, I encourage you to hold on to that same promise. He will supply “all your needs” (v. 19)—from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. This means an infinite stock of whatever God knows you and I are truly in need of—be it peace in the midst of chaos, assurance in the midst of uncertainty, or anything that we need to live a life of godliness (2 Peter 1:3). His riches will never be inadequate to meet our needs.

The next time God leads you to take a step of obedience—whether it is in giving to others, or in moving out of your comfort zone—I urge you to seize it, knowing that your obedience pleases Him and that He will supply everything that you need to do so.

—By Kezia Lewis, Philippines

Questions for reflection

  1. What keeps you from trusting God’s promise of “supplying all your needs”? Ask God to help you trust Him in this area.
  2. Is it hard for you to give? If no, thank God for that courage. If yes, reflect on why? And then ask Him to give you the courage you need to open your heart and your hands to be generous.
  3. How can you partner with someone missionaries/ministries for the gospel?

About the author

Nothing excites Kezia more than taking a two-hour drive with her husband listening to a teaching on God’s word, but she thinks that watching rain pour down with a cup of coffee is also time spent well.

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The Gift of Generosity

Day 28 | Today’s passage

Philippians 4:14-17

The food hamper that was delivered to my family 17 years ago is still the talk of our home.

At that time, I had just returned from an extensive backbone surgery at New Zealand’s Starship Children Hospital. Since my parents had spent most of the week with me in the hospital, any daily routine had gone out the window and our pantry was bare. So imagine our surprise and delight when Pastor Daniel Yi and his family knocked on our door with a food hamper.

My family had just moved to New Zealand, so we were new to our church and did not have many close friends. When Pastor Yi showed up with a hearty food package, we were overwhelmed that there was someone out there who would take the time, effort, and money to bless us, even though he barely knew us. That gesture showed us what it is like to be part of the body of Christ—a community of people who support and care for one another in times of need—and it brought us much comfort during a difficult time.

The gratitude we felt towards Pastor Yi for his generosity was probably akin to what Paul felt when he wrote to the Philippian church to thank them for sharing in his troubles (v. 14).

Paul was doing the laborious but rewarding work of spreading God’s Word. But Paul was only human, and I can imagine that he had needs to be met—such as food and clothes. Hearing of the struggles he faced, the Philippian church was the only church to send out a gift to support Paul (v. 15). I’m sure that would have encouraged Paul, knowing that the investment he had made in their lives was not in vain—and that there were people standing by him.

In fact, the church in Philippi didn’t just stop at sending Paul a gift once, but did so multiple times (v. 16). Their reasons were simple: they were themselves the beneficiaries of Paul’s work, and wanted to help him further advance the gospel by giving to him financially (Philippians 1:5).

I’m sure it wasn’t easy for the Philippians to have done this. It would have required sacrifices on their part. However, the example of Pastor Yi and the church of Philippi remind me that such willing sacrifice is one way that we can look out for the interests of those who are part of the body of Christ (Philippians 2:3-4).

As touched as Paul was with their generosity, what he wanted more was for the Philippians to reap a generous harvest. Whatever they had sown into Paul’s life, he prayed that “more will be credited to their account” (v. 17). It may not be a material reward that will be realized on earth, but Paul wants them to know whatever they had contributed into his life was an investment that had an eternal value to it—and that they would receive spiritual rewards for it one day.

I used to struggle to part with my money, but the generosity that Pastor Yi had shown me inspired me to start living a life of generosity. So, when I started my first part-time job as a sales assistant, I used a portion of my wages to buy presents for the Salvation Army’s Christmas appeal, and this has become a yearly tradition.

It may be a small gesture, but I hope that it’ll go a long way towards blessing someone else and sharing in their troubles.

—By Michele Ong, New Zealand

Questions for reflection

  1. Think about a time when you were blessed by someone. Write a letter, email, or text message to thank them for their blessing.
  2. Is there anyone around you who is in need, and whom you can help in a practical way—whether financially or otherwise?
  3. How does the idea that we’ll receive eternal rewards for our generosity motivate you to bless others more?

Artwork by Esther Oh @hello.eo

About the author

Michele loves the idea of being an elite swimmer, but isn’t keen on putting the hours needed to achieve her dreams. She loves hearing of stories of redemption, of lives changed when God met them at their lowest.

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