Oct. 9 – (Phil. 1:19-26) Do you ever get discouraged that those “weaker Christians” you are trying to encourage in the Lord seem to be going backwards in their faith and walk? Take courage…have patience. Continue the “good work” God has put in you to do until He calls you home.
Oct. 10 – (Phil. 1:27-30) “Only let your manner of life be “worthy of the gospel of Christ…” Why is it important for Christians’ public behavior to match up with the gospel? Everyone has a specific plum line with which to measure. Is it a person? A friend? A pastor? Is it an historical figure? Any human will make mistakes…will fail. Yet that is who we use many times to see if we are measuring up. What pressure we put on that person. Yet in our humanity we look for an earthly being. Let’s be reminded, Christ is the plum line. As we look to Him for our salvation, let’s also look to him more conscientiously for the “role model”.
In verse 27, Paul also urges the Philippians to stand firm “with a single spirit, struggling side by side with one united intent for the faith of the gospel”. What is that “one united intent”?
Oct. 11 – ((Phil. 2:1-2) How does the comfort and encouragement that comes from unity motivate us toward unity with each other in Christ (v. 1)?
Paul is not saying we bring our thinking in line with each other. What instead is to be the center around which Christians unite? Christians have theological differences, smoldering resentments from events of long ago, and radical variations of styles of worship, personality cults, and clashes over leadership style and arguments on issues of moral behavior. How can you and your Christian community work lovingly to overcome tensions like these with fellow Christians?
What are some practical ways to regard others as more important than you are?
Oct. 12 – (Phil. 2:3-4) Paul is realizing that everyone naturally looks out for his or her own interests. The key is to take that same level of concern and apply it also to the interests of others. Such radical love is rare, so Paul shows its supreme example in Jesus’ life in verses 5-11.
A while back, the Lord had been really dealing with me in this area. I think I want to share it in hopes that someone else can be helped by my sharing. One day I was worshipping at church and got this picture of us all worshipping around the throne. It was sooo glorious until as I was thinking who would be worshipping with me in this most wonderful place. I thought of someone who had so deeply wounded me I have struggled with life itself. As I thought of them, I immediately thought “I don’t want them anywhere near me!” And I immediately knew I had to do something about that sinful attitude. But how do you change an emotion that words “I forgive you…again”, don’t change your attitude. Well, as I fasted and prayed and asked God to show me the root, He was faithful. Long story short, He took me back to infancy and childhood and showed me some experiences that the enemy used to form “wrong thinking”. As I saw some of the reasons, it gave me understanding and I could forgive more thoroughly. He also gave me scripture to replace the “old thoughts” with a renewed mind. Not too long after that I was again in worship at church and I saw “the bad” of my whole life filtered through God’s loving hands to bring good (Rom. 8:28-29). Then as I had my hands up in worship I realized I was joyfully holding the hands with the person I formally said I didn’t want there. I was ecstatic and so very thankful for this freedom! God is good. God always does good. God always brings good out of our life when we surrender to His ways! (This was a great sermon series by Pastor Torry many years ago, but these phrases have always have stuck with me!)
Oct. 13 – (Phil. 2:5-8) In verse 7, it says “He emptied Himself”. The Greek can also mean “give up status and privilege”. Paul is not saying that Christ became less than God or gave up any of His divine attributes. I think Paul is saying that even though Christ had all the privileges of being King of the universe, He gave them up to become a Jewish baby bound for the cross. He had every right to stay in a position of power, but His love for sinful mankind drove him to accept a lowly position. The “emptying” consisted of His becoming human, not of giving up any part of His true deity.
Oct. 14 – (Phil. 2:9-11) “At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” In Isa. 45:23, it says “Every knee shall bow…” The meanings are quite different. Anyone want to do some research and get back to me? Maybe it is that last part (those under the earth). Again, who feels like doing research?
Oct. 15 – (Phil. 2:12-13) Here are two small verses, yet it takes a life time to do them. I am reminded yet again that we are saved when we accept Christ and ask forgiveness for our sin. But we continue to work out our salvation for the rest of our lives here on earth. How do we do that? We do that by reading His Word and applying it to our life. As we see wrong attitudes, motivations, and actions we repent and are “saved” from the ramifications of those sins here on earth. Here’s how I view it. At salvation, we become completely righteous in God’s sight because He now sees us through the filter of Jesus’ blood that has cleansed us. And though we are righteous in His sight, we still have the worldly mindset that we acquired up to that point of decision. Our minds and motivations need to be renewed so we can think like Jesus. That is a life time of renovation but take joy… as we apply His word, we are doing just that! You are doing that right now as you study His Word! Way to go!