Daily Devotionals

August 21st, 2021

Today’s Reading: Philippians 4:4-5 ESV

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand…”

More About Philippians 4:4-5

Written by Kellye Schiffner Carver (First 5 Ministries)

Paul and others write about the Lord’s closeness and soon-coming return throughout Scripture. (Romans 13:11; James 5:8-9; Revelation 22:7; 20) This idea has been interpreted in different ways – even literally.

When Paul said, “The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5), he might have meant the Lord’s spiritual nearness to believers. (Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 34:18; Psalm 119:151; Psalm 145:18) We often resonate with this today, considering Christ nearby or present in our lives without necessarily thinking about His physical return to earth in the future.

On the other hand, the early church lived in perpetual awareness of Christ’s return. When Paul said the Lord is at hand, or “near” (Philippians 4:5), he could have meant, literally, that the Lord’s coming was soon. (Joel 1:15; Joel 3:14; Zephaniah 1:7) In fact, a common greeting amongst early Christians was “Maranatha,” which means, “Come, Lord!” in reference to Jesus.

If you think about it, Christ’s imminent return is a powerful motivator. Are you likely to commit a wrong if you’re going to be held accountable in an hour or a day? How might we live differently if we knew Christ was returning today? Let us live every day, remembering that Christ is nearer today than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for providing the source of true joy. The world offers so much and can be so tempting, yet it pales in comparison to You. Please help me seek Your joy and find peace in a whole new way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Journal Prompt: How has recognizing the joy you have in Christ seen you through a difficult time? Or how might it sustain you today?