I have a friend who is always smiling. No matter what is going on in his life or in the lives of those he loves, he smiles and gives praise to God. At one point, he was going through something terrible with his daughter, and he talked about how God was going to use it for good. I know he was sad, angry, and disappointed, but he was able to rejoice. Nothing fake about it. When you are around my friend, his smile is contagious and has a way to lift you up. Thank you, Daniel, for letting us share in your joy!
Philippians 2:18: “Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.”
We live in a very me-centered world. We filter every event in light of its impact on us. Only after we assess the direct effect on us do we look at how others are affected. When I was in the military, they emphasized sacrifice. Even though my life was never in danger, we were trained to put it all on the line for others if it was required. As a follower of Jesus, we are to be prepared to lose our life for His sake. Not only are we ready to die for the name of Jesus, but we look at the impact an event or an action will have on Christ and the church before we look to our needs and wants. When we make selfless decisions, we share joy with one another and are pleasing in God’s eye.
Philippians 2:17: “But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.”
My daughter has started playing hockey with the neighbor boys. While I am not excited about her hanging out with boys, she is learning valuable lessons in sportsmanship and community. She is also picking it up fast and getting better than “the boys!” She asked me to put hockey tape on her stick, and one of the boys told me not to get friction tape because he called it “cheater’s tape.” By design, friction tape improves puck control. So I’m told. As a follower of Christ, there are certain things we hold on to so as to improve our lives. One of those is the Word of God. We hold firmly to the Word of God by reading it, meditating on it, discussing it with others, and obeying it. It is in the following of the Word where many fall short. In this case, using friction tape to improve the Bible sticking to our lives is a good thing.
Philippians 2:16: “Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.”
We live in a world where we have to get everything in writing. “My word is my oath” is no longer accepted. We find it difficult to trust anybody anymore. Why? If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, people should be able to trust you. We are to be moral, right, proper, and good even though we live in a world that is dishonest, immoral, evasive, and warped. Sadly, I don’t see the “Christian Community” living up to this standard. Some look more like the world than the Savior. May we recover what it means to be light in a dark world.
Philippians 2:15: “…so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
Growing up, I complained about just about everything: taking out the trash, clearing the table, mowing the lawn, brushing my teeth, and eating my vegetables (still complain about this one!). Then I learned how to argue and debate. Even if I agreed with someone, I would take the opposing view just to argue. This was not biblical living. Mom and Dad-I’m sorry! I’d like to say my attitude has improved, but there are days where complaint and debate rule. Even on days where my actions are supportive, my heart isn’t always in it. Lord, help me! A follower of Christ seeks to bring glory to God by working hard, doing a good job, and acting with integrity. We do it all with the joy of the Lord shining through us.
Philippians 2:14: “Do everything without complaining and arguing.”
Whenever something negative happens to me, I often moan and groan. “Woe is me!” “God, why is this happening?” It takes me a bit to realize that it isn’t about me. My life needs to bring pleasure to God. I am not to seek my happiness or what I want. Instead, I am to desire what God wants and value what God values. Of course, this usually ends in my joy and fulfillment too, but not always. I’m not the point. The pleasure and glory of God are.
Philippians 2:13: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
If you call yourself a follower of Christ, your life should reflect His. You should obey God, fear God, revere God. So many people are living lives counter to God and His Word while trying to maintain the title of Christian. While we all fail to live up to God’s perfect standard, the trajectory of our lives should be growing in Christlikeness. That is what it means to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
Philippians 2:12: “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”
Words matter. The Bible repeatedly warns us to watch our mouth, to be careful with the words we speak. In the last #MWM, we saw how the name of Jesus is mighty, and one day, everyone will bow before Him. Not only that, but one day, whether you want to or not, you will verbally recognize Jesus as Lord. When you do this, you will agree that God is who He says He is and has done what He says He did. You may not want to declare this, but you will. Some of us will do so with praise and thanksgiving on our tongue, and others will do so through gritted teeth. Which one sounds better? All of the confessing will be done to the glory of God and no other. I beg and plead with you to recognize Jesus as Lord this side of eternity. Don’t wait! Believe in Jesus Christ for the salvation of your sins.
Philippians 2:11: “and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Taking a knee seems to be a “thing” these days. Some take a knee in protest, and some take a knee in prayer (the two are not mutually exclusive). However, one day we will all be on our knees in reverence and worship of Jesus Christ. Some of us choose to bow in submission to Jesus this side of eternity. Those of us that do recognize Jesus as our Savior and Lord. For those who refuse to accept God’s grace, you will bow down and acknowledge Jesus as Lord, but it will be too late to be saved. Don’t wait! Trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Bow in worship of Him, today! Then when we bow again in eternity, we will do so with joy and celebration, not fear and condemnation. Choose to submit and serve King Jesus.
Philippians 2:10: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”
I remember when Lyndsey and I found out we were going to become parents. It was a great day. One of the many conversations we had about parenting involved naming the kiddo. While we couldn’t agree on a name for a boy, we immediately settled on a name for a girl. When the second baby came along, we once again couldn’t decide on a boy’s name, so we were given a girl! While we think our daughter’s names are perfect, I’m sure we confused some family, especially with their middle names: Lulu and Echo. After Jesus lived the perfect life and died the death that we deserve because of our sin, He was raised to life, defeating death for those who believe. He was then taken to heaven and seated at God’s right hand. Jesus Christ is more than a title or name; it is THEE name. The perfect name for the perfect son of God. Jesus’ ministry is now to intercede on behalf of his children, you and me! How about that?!?
Philippians 2:9: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.”