Philippians is my favorite of Paul’s epistles. Not only does it contain my New Testament life verse (3:12), from which I named my blog; but it also has my favorite prayer of Paul’s.
We can learn a lot from the way Paul prayed for these people. He prays earnestly for this group and gives thanks for them. Each of us can use this example in praying for people in our own lives. Praying for them when we think of them; that they will continue in their walk; learning and gaining discernment. Pray that they would incorporate into their lives things that are worth having in their Christian walk, and continuing that walk all of their lives.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
which are by Jesus Christ,
to the glory and praise of God.
Paul also encourages his readers to live their lives as Jesus did, being humble; as a bond-servant. A bond-servant was one who willingly put himself into servitude; many times out of love for the master. Jesus showed us this example through His love of God the Father above all else, obeying God, even to the point of facing and experiencing death.
…but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
The Apostle Paul used his own life as an example for them and us to see and use. We should be earnestly pushing forward in our Christian walk. Always learning more and improving our way of living for God.
…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Paul had a terrible past and the enemy tried to use it to haunt him and have him constantly feeling the guilt from the persecuting of believers that he once did. But Paul knew the importance of leaving the past in the past and stepping forward into the new life in Christ each believer now has. This is definitely something I need to work on.
Having begun a new way of life, Paul experienced all kinds of abundance and lack thereof. He knew the importance of being satisfied and content in whatever circumstances he found himself in because he knew that with the strength of God he could face anything.
In times of rich blessings, Paul knew he could count on God’s strength to keep him from taking those blessings for granted. Also, in times of hardship and need, Paul knew he could lean on God’s strength to get him through.
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The Apostle Paul also encouraged his readers in their daily walk, giving them advice on godly living; that which would affect both themselves and other believers. As believers, we need to be thinking more of others than ourselves.
…fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
The lifestyle of a believer was quite different from that of the Roman world. Paul encouraged them to live lives as a light to the lost; staying true to God’s ways. Look at the world in which we live. Are our own lives much different than the world’s? Can unbelievers see the difference?
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life
The body of Christ in the first century was bonded together as a family; living together and sharing things together. It was a time of persecution and hardships for them. Living in such a way enabled them to help each other and gain strength from and encourage one another.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Lastly, Paul gave them an easy way to remember what kind of lifestyle they should be seeking; what kind of things they should do, think about and yearn for.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true,
whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue
and if there is anything praiseworthy—
meditate on these things.
God, our Father gave Paul the words that the Philippians needed to help them live victoriously. Using examples from the life of Jesus as well as from his own, Paul shows us how to live for Christ no matter our circumstances; rich or poor; in good health or not; persecuted or living in a land of freedom. Philippians is a letter to each one of us encouraging us to step forward into the life God has for us.
Until next time, God bless.
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