Friday, March 1, 2013

Philippians


God has been pointing me back to Philippians for most of my recent struggles.  This letter that Paul wrote to the church at Philippi is rich with theology that we can put into practical use.  It is easy to set what we read in the Bible on a shelf in our minds - perhaps to display and be proud of - and yet its practice eludes us.  Perhaps it’s just me, or the current phase that I’m going through, but Philippians is written in a way that helps me to see how to put that theology into practice.

For example, anxiety (worry) is mentioned in several places in the Bible.  However, Philippians is the book in which the “cure” is made most apparent to me:  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)  This is the main verse that instigated the creation of this blog.  Void of other verses in the Bible, I wouldn’t quite have picked up on this meaning, but this verse says to me:  “Pray without ceasing, and be thankful in everything.”

Paul also tells us to “have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus...” (Philippians 2:5) and then proceeds to explain how to be humble.  “...[A]lthough He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant... He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)  I again pair this with other verses to say to myself, “Be obedient to God, and focus on Him, not you.  Empty yourself of yourself, and fill yourself with praise for God.”

Philippians is a book about how to live in the joy of the Lord.  Without humility (chapter 2) we cannot have true Joy (as distinct from, though not exclusive of, happiness).  Anxiety and worry - which are a type of pride - come in and steal our joy.  So many of us lose our joy because our focus draws inward instead of Meditating upon God.  It is our moment-by-moment struggle with sin.  

I am thankful that God inspired Paul to write this letter to the Philippians for the instruction - and thus hope - of those who love Him. (Romans 15:4)  Have you been robbed of your joy?  Where has your focus been?

My personal prayer is Psalm 19:14:  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful, just wonderful. I really enjoyed this as it is a book I have been studying on a lot lately.

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