Practicing the Presence of Christ

by Stephen F. Olford

Text: "The Lord is at hand" (Phil. 4:5; read vv. 1-11)

Thoughts: Paul's appreciation of the advent of Christ was largely affected by his growing conception of the nearness of Christ in everyday experience. All life was to be lived in Him. So in the verses that follow we find that the secret of practicing the presence of Christ is knowing consciously:

Stephen Olford1. 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 beloved and longed-for brethren," he says, "my joy and crown" (v. 1). Then he adds, "Stand fast in the Lord, beloved" (v. 1). The "stand fast" implies more than individual constancy. It is the steadfastness of oneness in standing together (v. 1), thinking together (v. 2), and working together (v. 3).

2. Joyfulness in the Lord. "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" (v. 4). If we want to know strength in our Christian life, we must cultivate a joyfulness in the Lord which is conspicuous, continuous, and contagious. This joy must be heard in the sound of our voices, seen in the light of our eyes and recognized by the glow of our faces. Let us never forget that joy is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). So we must obey the command to "be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18).

3. Prayerfulness in the Lord. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (v. 6). Many psychological and pathological abnormalities can be traced to nervous tensions and emotional disturbances. How marvelous it is to know, however, that our hearts can be pacified and our minds stabilized in the Lord when we come to God in prayer. Through prayer God works mightily. "Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matt. 21:22).

Thrust: The Lord is at hand, You've nothing to fear; In Him take your stand, And be of good cheer.