My minister has been teaching from Philippians chapter 4 a lot lately. No matter how many times the scriptures are read, they take on a new meaning in my life. Lately I have been focusing on changing the ways that I respond to problems in my life, and as I read Philippians 4:1-9 I realized that the difficulties the Christians in Philippi were facing were the same ones we face today.
Personalities Problems. It takes all kinds to make the world go ‘round but I tell ya, dealing with particular personalities can sometimes feel like a clash of the Titans. I am not ashamed to admit that lately I have been at odds with some people in my life. My personality is very headstrong at times, and I have a very limited tolerance for adults. However, as much I might be struggling with someone else’s personality I am quite sure they are struggling with mine. So what do we do when we’re at odds with one another? Verses 2-4 give some very sound advice. I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! First of all, no matter what you are going through, REJOICE! Wherever God plants you, He will make you grow. They may not feel good TO you, but these challenges are good FOR you. They are maturing you. Secondly, find common ground. Sometimes you have to ask yourself and the person with whom you are clashing, “Why are we here? What is the shared purpose?” Focus on that and the rest will work itself out. Lastly, seek help. Sometimes you need an outside point of view to help you overcome personality problems.
Pressure Problems. You cannot live life and expect to not be met with pressure. Whether it is your job, family, friends, or yourself…someone is always applying pressure. What should you do when you feel pressure? Pray. I know that sounds cliché but prayer changes things. Verse 7 reads: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. There is nothing too big or small for the Lord. I pray over even the tiniest matters in my life, and I thank God in advance for His answer because I know that however He responds will be in my best interests because He loves me. Additionally, I remind myself of the things God promised and I pray for those things. God didn’t promise me that life would be easy; I’d always have it my way and never feel any pressure or pain. I don’t pray for those things because He didn’t promise them. But what He did promise was that He’d meet my needs, never put more on me than I can bear, that He’d keep me and grant me peace. He promises those things to you as well.
Perspective Problems. I say it all the time and you’re probably tired of hearing it, BUT…It is in your mind that you experience life’s experiences. Your mind is where you determine if the occurrences in your life or happening TO YOU or FOR YOU. Your mind, your perspective is the only thing you can change in a situation. How can I refocus my perspective about the problems I am facing in life? Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. You have to make a deliberate choice to replace negative, dream killing, self-doubting, envious, covetous, low caliber thoughts with higher thoughts. When you began to fight the powers with POWER, there will be a promotion in your perspective.
You don’t want no problems, as the children and rappers say. But really you do. Problems mean you’re doing something. You’re living life. You’re taking such tremendous and purposeful actions that the prince of dark realms feels he needs to thwart them. #PushThrough the problems with praise, prayer and a change in perspective. Watch God turn your lump of coal into a shining diamond that reflects the beauty of His Light.