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Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:4-5
The context of this passage includes an incident where there were two women who were in disagreement. They were Euodia and Syntyche. Paul is asking the people of Philippi to help bring these two women together.
Apparently these two women were preachers, or at least apologists of the faith because Paul said that they “have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel.” It seems that these two powerful women of God were in broken relationship over some issue between them and Paul is calling upon other believers to help restore them.
It is in the context of calling the believers to be peacemakers that Paul tells them to rejoice. Perhaps this whole thing had caused such a stink that it was affecting the attitude of the believers. Maybe some of them were even beginning to doubt their faith. In the middle of this trying time Paul says, “Rejoice.” It is not always easy to rejoice, but the result is worth the effort.
Then he tells them to, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” The process of restoring others requires a gentle touch. We have to present the facts to the offended in such a way that greater offense does not develop. Sometimes that means that we have to accept people in relationship even when they are not willing to admit their error.
I have learned along the way that in order to restore relationships we must focus on the relationship and not on the issues that caused the breach. What I mean by that is this; you may have two people who are convinced that their side of an issue is right and they are not willing to concede to the other. The issue itself may not ever be resolved, but the relationship must be restored.
We must always remember that when we are endeavoring to help others mend relationships that we must use a gentle hand, just as we would want others to use a gentle had with us.
Prayer: Lord, I need grace in my own relationships as well as in helping others in broken relationships. Grant me that grace. In Jesus name, amen.
Principle: When we are endeavoring to help others mend relationships we must use a gentle hand, just as we would want others to use a gentle had with us.
Affirmation: I will not allow a difference of opinion on an issue to fracture my relationship with another believer, but rather I will choose the path of gentle agreement to disagree without being disagreeable.
Reflection: The Scripture passage for this devotion is Paul's response to a quarrel between to two believers. Notice that he tells them, not once but twice, to rejoice. Could he be saying that we should not allow disagreement to affect our joy? Something to think about.
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