Be Reasonable

When Paul continued his letter to the Philippian church, he gave a final exhortation and encouragement. The previous conversation was about straining toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Paul was “hunting down” this goal and intentionally forgot everything else along the way in his life. Paul was laser focused on the goal of salvation and longed to join Christ in both his suffering and resurrection.

In his final exhortation, he urged Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Whatever spat they were having was clearly a distraction for their goal. He urged the saints in Philippi to “help these women” who labored beside Paul and “whose names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:3 ESV). Then he says something profound: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone” (vs. 4, 5). Paul drives his point home to imitate his example, to fix their eyes on people those who walk according to the example they had in Paul and his companions, and now he urges them to let their reasonableness be known to everyone.

The word for reasonableness is important. It means to be gentle, fair, or reasonable by way of relaxing overly strict standards in order to keep the spirit of the law. It’s going “beyond justice” by keeping in step with the spirit of the law. Put another way, don’t be uptight. We want to be known for keeping the spirit of the law, and that means exercising mercy and not being legalistic. And Paul wants them to actually have a well known reputation for being reasonable people!