As the apostle Paul concludes his letter to the Philippian church, he expresses his desire for them to “stand firm in the Lord” (4:1). And then in the following verses he explains how to do that. Verse 5 says,
“Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.”
That word graciousness is used in 2 Corinthians 10:1 to describe the character of Christ. This sounds wonderful, but in the challenges of life it can be elusive. When someone does something that is irritating to you, it’s so much easier to react in frustration instead of graciousness. When you are aggravated or hurt by others, the temptation is to respond with anger and resentment. And when you do, you do not “stand firm in the Lord,” instead, you become emotionally and spiritually unstable. That’s the way some people live—they stumble through life as they keep getting emotionally knocked off balance by people, by circumstances, by their feelings.
But since graciousness is the character quality of Christ, it will be produced in your life as you abide in Him. So when there is anger or frustration or impatience in your life, the issue isn’t that you need get a handle on that negative emotion and do better. No, the real issue is that you need to abide in Christ, to let His Spirit fill you so that His fruit of love, of joy, of peace, of graciousness, will be produced in you. That is the emphasis in the second half of Philippians 4:5, “The Lord is near.” He is near to empower and enable you in graciousness and every good fruit as you trust Him. Take a moment right now to thank Him for this truth, that He is near to you, that His grace is available and sufficient for you, that His power is perfected in your weakness.