"Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!" NIV translation
Paul begins by reminding us that it is about continuing the race even as we are imperfect and sometimes miss the mark. Even though we are not perfect yet, we know that we are His and nothing can shake us from that.
Philippians 4:2 & 3
"I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." NIV translation
Paul stresses that we are not in this race alone and that all of us who are in Christ should be striving for the same goal. We do not need to judge how someone else is running the race but we can be there to assist them if they stumble and to encourage them as well.
Philippians 4:4 & 5
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." NIV translation
Worship begins with a right attitude and that attitude is joy. We see, here, that joy is the source of our strength just as Nehemiah told the people at the reading of the Law (see Nehemiah 8:10). A sad Christian has no power to follow Christ. Paul also tells us to let our gentleness be evident and this speaks of the fact that we are reasonable and emphasize the big point which is Jesus Christ not every little point of doctrine.
Philippians 4:6 & 7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." NIV translation
Another part of our worship is sharing the everyday moments of our lives with Him through prayer. We can call upon God (pray) at anytime for anything. We do not have to worry about anything and, when we take things to our Father we can go ahead and thank Him for He will do what is best for us. When we are walking in this way, we will have a peace that others cannot shake or identify and we will stand strong in the Lord.
"Finally, brothers, 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." NIV translation
Our worship is not without knowledge as we strive to learn more about what we have in Christ. We guard our minds by not dwelling on the bad things that happen and instead focusing on the things that are good which come from God.
"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." NIV translation
Paul urges them to follow his example of following Christ and promises them that, if they are doing so, the peace of God will be with them. There are those that discount this principle of being an example but Paul boldly urges them to follow him as he follows Christ. This is kind of what we would call mentoring today and the sad fact is that we do not have enough Christian men and women standing up and demonstrating Jesus to our younger generations.
"I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it." NIV translation
Paul demonstrates the power of worship as he says that he rejoices greatly. He is praising God and thanking Him for bringing the Philippian believers back into contact with him. For two years, they had lost contact with Paul as they did not know that he had been taken to Rome for trial. When they found out, they immediately wanted to help him and to encourage him.
It is important to remember what God has done for us in the past as that reminds us that He is in control and that He cares for us. When we praise God for what He has done, we are strengthened for the next struggle that we will face. A simple way to rejoice is to share your story of what God has done for you.
Philippians 4:11 & 12
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." NIV translation
Paul was not rejoicing because of the increase of provision but because of the knowing that someone cares. The "secret" to contentment that he refers to is simply resting in the provision of the Lord. That is being mature enough to understand and accept the fact that God is in control of everything and, if He wants you to have something, then, He will provide it. If He has not provided something and you are His child, then, you can be assured that it is in your best interest to not have it.
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." NIV translation
Paul goes on to explain that, when we worship God, we are reminded of the power that we have through Jesus Christ. We can handle anything and do anything that God has planned for us.
"Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the manner of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need." NIV translation
We see that, in the early days of ministry, the churches did not help Paul with any expenses as many times he worked as a tent maker to support himself. This church in Philippi had supported him when nobody else did. We also see that this sacrificial giving is a part of worship.
"Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account." NIV translation
Paul tells them that this letter is not some kind of fundraising letter as he is not looking for another gift. We also see that a gift to the work of God is a credit to our account. In fact we gain more by giving to the work of God than we can ever give away as the saying goes "you can't out give God".
Philippians 4:18 & 19
"I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." NIV translation
Paul goes on to say that the monetary gift that they had sent was more than he needed and he reminds them that they were given to God and not a man. He goes on to explain that God owns all and will provide for all of the needs of His children. There are some that have misinterpreted this to mean that we can just demand whatever our little heart desires and God will deliver it. God will provide for all of our needs but we may not need everything our heart desires.
"To our God and father be glory for ever and ever. Amen." NIV translation
Paul reminds them and us that it is all about the presence of God in our lives. Everything we are and have is from Him.
Philippians 4:21 & 22
"Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household." NIV translation
Paul ends with greetings but we are reminded that his time in chains in Rome was not idle. We see that Caesar's household accepted Christ and are reminded that even while he was in chains Paul was serving the Lord.
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen." NIV translation
How was Paul able to serve the Lord even while he was under house arrest? We see the answer in his prayer for the believers in Philippi as he wants them to remember the grace that has been given to them through Jesus. When our spirit is focused on that, we can look past our surroundings and worship the Lord.