Philippians 4: Stand firm in the Lord
1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters whom I love and miss, who are my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord.
Loved ones, 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to come to an agreement in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I’m also asking you, loyal friend, to help these women who have struggled together with me in the ministry of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers whose names are in the scroll of life.
4 Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! 5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.
8 From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. 9 Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you.
I picked this passage from the litany of choices for today’s devotional because of its particular relevance at Emory. For those of you who are musically and/or financially inclined, you may recognize Philippians 4:8 as the verse engraved on the fountain between the Business School and the Schwartz Center. This verse could be especially helpful now, while many of us are in the brief period between realizing it’s Lent and giving up on doing anything for Lent. The author of Philippians gives some great advice – focus on things that are excellent and admirable. So, when you’re deciding what to do for Lent, try to pick up disciplines or drop habits that accomplish this goal. In order to focus on all that is holy, you could strive to pray more regularly. In order to focus on what is just, you could volunteer at a local food pantry or homeless shelter. In order to focus on what is worthy of praise, you could require yourself to follow every insult with a compliment. There is a wide array of possibilities. For those of you who have already decided to give up something more trivial (chocolate, Facebook, etc.), try to find a way in which these tasks help you to focus on the excellent and admirable. In order to focus on all that is pure, you could replace the time you spend watching TV with a time of silent reflection. In order to focus on all that is lovely, you could do your best to be cheery, despite your intense caffeine withdrawals. Here too the possibilities are limitless. –Roy Atwood, Junior