Tag Archives: Philippians

Find Strength

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

No matter where you find yourself, you’re not too far away for God to find you.  No matter what your circumstances, He can walk you through.  He is good, and you can trust Him in good times and bad times.

As followers of Christ, we would benefit from following the example of Paul, learning how to be content in all situations.  A heart that’s truly fixed on God will not let events determine faith.  Focus on the nature of God and know that no matter what, no matter how good or how bad, you can trust Him.

You can do all things through Him who strengthens you.  Pray in all things and rely on Him to provide.  He is more than able to be your everything.

———-  Where are you trying to find your strength?  Is it in God or in the things of this world that don’t live up to their promises?

His completed work

Philippians 1:6  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

The foundation for our spiritual growth is our recognition that our Creator, who began a good work in us through salvation, will bring that work to completion through sanctification.  We need to look back at what He’s already done so that we can remember how good He’s been and keep in mind that He’s faithful and will remain active in our lives.  We can have confidence that God will never let us go.

Sometimes we need to act on what we know to be true instead of what feels true at any given moment.  Feelings are a big part of who we are since we’re spiritual beings, but they can often be misleading.  When it feels like God isn’t living up to His promises, but we know that He’s faithful and won’t let us go, we need to rely less on feeling and more on what we know to be true.

One way we know that we can rely on God is though His Word.  Story after story is documented of His faithfulness to His people.  This, along with the evidence in our own stories, gives us hope that He will indeed complete the work that He began.

———-  Reflect on where you were spiritually 5 years ago, 2 years ago, one year ago.  Think about how much God has done to develop you into the person He created you to be.

All He has his yours

Philippians 4:19 “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

A father loves his children and wants what is best for them. He doesn’t want to see them burdened and stressed out, but strives to see them overflowing with joy and peace. A father will lay awake in bed at night thinking about his children. He would go to the ends of the earth and give all he had to make sure his kids are provided for. If our earthly fathers love us this much, how much more does our Heavenly Father love us?

Your Heavenly Father wants to supply all your needs and it is not His plan for you to be full of anxiety or weighed down with worry. God bankrupted heaven for us when He sent His only son, that through faith in Christ, we would not only have eternal life with Him but also have the right to become His children. If God loves us that much, do we seriously think He is not going to take care of us?

When a thought like that enters your mind, just know that it is the world trying to separate you from your relationship with your Father. Don’t let the obstacles and troubles of this world separate you from the rich inheritance that He has in store for you. God’s love for us is perfect and so is His provision. It was His grace that saved us from our sinful nature and it’s by His grace that we will live. He’s your eternal dad and He loves you very much. All He has is yours.

Through Thick and Thin

Philippians 4:14 “Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.”

Which one of your brothers or sisters in Christ are you sharing a difficulty with today? This is a tough world we live in. The apostle Paul states in Romans 8:23 “We believers also groan…for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.” As we learned last week, we can endure all things through Christ who gives us strength. That doesn’t mean we won’t suffer pain or difficulty, because surely we will. But just as God has brought together His church to accomplish great things, he also brought us together to love one another, deeper than we love ourselves. It’s great to share life with someone when they are celebrating victory, but it’s a far greater thing to endure with them when they experience loss.

As you’re drinking your morning coffee this morning, or better yet, when you’re spending some quiet time with The Lord, take a moment and think of who you could share a burden with today. Whether it’s lifting them up in prayer, offering encouragement, or just simply mourning with them. Nothing brings greater joy or glory to our Lord than when we love each other.

John 15:12 “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”

The Secret of Living In Every Situation

Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the
secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. What a beautiful and powerful verse. One that you will hear quoted frequently by believers. Yet, sometimes, I don’t think we’re getting the true power of this verse. I often see it quoted on someone’s Facebook status when going to a job interview or when someone is going through a tough breakup. Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not. We should come to the Lord with all sorts of prayer for every situation. We should always go to Him for wisdom, strength, and guidance in all things. With that being said, I think there’s a bigger picture here once you read the verse in context of the passage.

Once we read the context it’s pretty clear what Paul is saying here. He is fully content in the Lord and knows that His hand is upon his life. Now what I didn’t get from it was that it was easy or something that just happened. At the beginning of verse eleven Paul says he had to “learn” how to be content. When the will of God for our lives means that part of our comfort gets taken away or we have to give up something huge sacrificially, it becomes a big test of our faith. But what happens during that test is something so awesome and so indescribable that you only know it by having experienced it. It’s when Christ invites you to enter into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him where you rely fully on His strength and His strength alone. It’s also during these times that we put ourselves into a position to allow Him to shape and mold our character into the person He wants us to be as He works in and through us.

But wait, there’s more! There’s something that a lot of us miss in this passage and the best way to illustrate this is with the beginning of verse twelve. First, take away “on almost nothing or” and then read the verse. It goes like this, “I know how to live with everything.” What does it mean to know how to live with everything? I know for myself I have put God’s will for my life on the back burner when things are going good. Did I stop going to church? Did I stop participating in
ministry? No, but I wasn’t allowing myself to be stretched because I had become comfortable. Just like it’s a test when things are taken away or made difficult, it can be an even greater test of our faith when all our needs are met. Like “a camel going through the eye of a needle” greater.

I think we are all guilty sometimes of turning “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” into just a prayer of desperation. Well maybe it should be a prayer of desperation, but if so, it has to be more than when we have nothing, but also when we have everything. What it should be is our daily prayer to the Lord to let Him know that we are content in Him and that He doesn’t merely give us strength, but that He is our strength. It’s not a prayer of “Jesus, I’m in it neck deep, get me out!” but a prayer of “Jesus, I’ve been in it neck deep and I’ve been on top of the mountain. I know you’re with me no matter what. Please give me your strength today so I can endure all things, fulfill your will for my life, and bring glory to your name.”

What’s Your Focus?

Philippians 4:8-9 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

So what’s your focus? What do you fixate your thoughts on? Do you walk around all day looking at how broken the world is? Do you look for the negative in every situation? Do you evaluate how much of a sinner everyone around you is? Is your modus operandi to judge a world that’s “going to Hell in a hand basket”? Here’s a tough one. Do you constantly focus on your struggles with sin? Here’s an even tougher one. Do you constantly just focus on sin?

If your answer is yes to any of the questions above, you are not only keeping yourself from the peace of God, but you are probably missing God’s will for your life. Focusing on what’s good in this world, through the lens of the Gospel, prepares our hearts for where God is working around us. The truth is, everything good in this world comes from God. He is everywhere, in every place, all around us. God is working all around you and His glory is everywhere! If we don’t see
it then it’s time to question our focus.

If we are true disciples of Christ, then we are “children of the light” (John 12:36). Jesus said in Luke 11:34 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness.” Our thoughts are a window into our heart. What we fixate on impacts how we live out and understand the Gospel, not to mention how we witness to those around us. Whatever we focus on is what those who watch and learn from us will focus on. Don’t think anyone one is watching and learning from you? You’d be surprised at how many people your life effects.

It’s interesting in verse nine that Paul says to practice “everything you heard from me and saw me doing.” Really let that one sink in for a minute. Now ask yourself this question, could you say that to someone today? Would you be embarrassed to? Paul was a man, just like you and me. He was flawed and a sinner, far from perfect, but his focus was on Jesus Christ and his thoughts were fixed to all that was good and worthy of praise.

Do This! Don’t Do That!

Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Living in the world, with all it’s troubles, it’s a big task not to worry. It can seem like an impossible one at best. I read this scripture and I just want to experience this so badly, but yet I fail at it constantly. I just want to make myself stop worrying but I can’t. So what’s the solution?

Paul tells us that we shouldn’t worry about anything. Anything? Really? What about my looming mortgage payment, yet I want to tithe above and beyond? What about the fact that I’m working a full time job and doing ministry full time? Not even a little worry?

My wife and I recently started trying to eat healthier. We wanted to cut out processed foods and a lot of the junk that we’ve been eating. Does this mean that we quit eating all together? Of course not! We just replaced what we were eating with natural and healthy choices. This is what Paul is saying in verse 6. We could reword this verse to say substitute worry with prayer.

If you’re like me, I’m a habitual worrier. Like with any habit that we’re trying to break, it takes effort, but our goal is to replace the habit of worrying with the habit of prayer. I use to be a candy fiend but I slowly replaced it with fresh fruit. My wife and I buy so much fruit now it takes up half of our refrigerator! What this translates to is I should have the best prayer life of anyone I know!

The results of our change in diet is that we feel better, we’ve lost weight, and we don’t focus on eating so much. The results of changing out worry for prayer are far greater. When we focus on God and all He has done in our lives and we open up to Him with our most sincere needs of our heart, we then get to experience the peace that can come only from Him.

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, gave himself as an atonement so that you and I could have a relationship with our Father in Heaven. Prayer is a privilege and it’s not something we should take for granted. Along with His word and His church, it’s His invitation to a love relationship with Him. Not because He needs us, but because He wants us. He wants your heart filled with His everlasting peace, not the temporary worries of this world.

Our Brothers and Sisters, Our Joy and Our Crown

Philippians 4:1 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.”

There are so many great scriptures in the fourth book of Philippians. I know for me, there are many that I have written on my heart to help me live out God’s will for my life. We will go over them in the weeks to come as we close out the book of Philippians, but before we get to those great verses, let’s not overlook this powerful verse that Paul opens this letter with.

If we go back to Matt Cochran’s devotion from January 7th, we learned that God has chosen to adopt us into His family, through His son Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5). Because of this, everyone who has made Jesus Lord and Savior of their life are truly our brothers and sisters. We should love each other and encourage each other the same way, if not more, than we do our blood relatives. I mean, after all, how much stronger is the Holy Spirit compared to our flesh?

As a big brother, I would always look after my little brother when we were kids. I still do or at least try to. I by no means was a perfect brother, but I wanted nothing more than to protect my brother and see that he was making good choices for his life. I never pulled my seniority card on him, or tried to bully him because I was older and knew more. If anything, I tried to be my brothers friend. Paul models this for us in this opening verse. He was an apostle and far advanced in his walk with the Lord compared to them, but he addressed the Philippians as his brothers and sisters, as his dear friends.

Paul took it a step further and called them his joy and the crown he received for his work. I don’t care what you may have heard through some “prosperity gospel” or some “name it and claim it” ministry, but our ultimate success, our ultimate wealth, God’s ultimate glory shining through our lives can be found in the people who surround us. Your brother who a year ago was an alcoholic on the verge of divorcing his wife who is now serving in the church and excited to tell others about how Jesus transformed him and his marriage. Your sister who three years prior was working at an adult night club who is now a faithful servant of Jesus and leads a women’s ministry. They are God’s miracles that He has produced through our faithfulness and they are our crown’s for the work of Christ in our lives. If you’re having one of those days where you’re feeling down and failing to see the fruits of God’s work in your life, stop looking at your life and start looking at the lives that surround you and you’ll quickly discover that you’re surrounded by joy.

No Man Left Behind

Philippians 3:17-21 “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

We need to be united as an example to the next generation. We need to be passionate about investing in them and modeling what it means to be a disciple of Christ. For this generation will be the ones who disciple the next generation and will be the future leaders of the church.

We were all once citizens of this world, headed for our own destruction. But through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we were redeemed and made citizens of Heaven. Every one of us have had elders The Lord has placed in our life who have invested in us and built us up on the foundation of the Gospel. It’s now our turn to disciple someone else in the truths of the Gospel.

The sad truth is, if we won’t take the time to invest in them, the world will. The enemies of the Gospel are many and they surround us everyday. It’s on the TV, our inbox when we check our email, and waiting for us when we get to work. The enemy wants nothing more than to reclaim their time and resources and trap them in their sin.

The temptations are many and the enemy may trick them into thinking the world is their home, but there’s one thing he can’t touch and that’s their citizenship to Heaven. Their salvation was bought and sealed by Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection. No power in Heaven or on earth can separate them from His love.

When soldiers are at a battle, no man is left behind enemy lines. Every soldier will wager his life to bring his brother back to safety. Let’s protect what The Lord has entrusted to us and take the time today to invest in the men and women He has placed in our lives. Those who we pull out of the world will be the same ones The Lord will send back into the world to seek out the lost and disciple the next generation in the truths of the Gospel.

The race is on

Philippians 3: 12-14 “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

There will never be a point, while we are still living and breathing, where our mission on earth will be finished. Jesus didn’t set up a retirement plan for us once we hit a certain age or put how ever many years in. Our lives as Christians shouldn’t be treated as some kind of career but instead we should treat it as a race, which Paul compares it to here. And in a race you never let up, you never stop pressing forward until you reach that finish line.

Paul could have easily said, “Well that’s enough for me boys. Going to hang it up until The Lord calls me home.” Paul had accomplished a lot and suffered much, for and through The Lord. Paul, though, didn’t dwell on his current achievements, but what he had yet to achieve. His heart’s desire was to become more in the likeness of Christ and to share in his sufferings in a deeper, greater way. He was excited for what The Lord was going to do next, not what He had already done. That’s not to say he didn’t appreciate how far The Lord had taken him, but his eyes were set to what lay ahead.

On the flip side, Paul didn’t wallow in the sinner he use to be. He didn’t focus on all the mistakes he made in his ministry along the way. He forgot what was behind, good or bad, and pressed forward towards the perfection of Christ. Remember, there are many laps in a race. It’s not where you start at, but where you finish.

Let us celebrate what God has done through the work of Jesus in our lives and let us always be thankful for the grace that was afforded us on the cross. But, above all else, let us be excited and eager for what God is going to do next. Let’s strap in, put the pedal to the floor, and focus our eyes on the course Jesus is laying out before us.