Reflection on Philippians 4:1-9

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+4.1-9

Scripture

Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.

Observation

Paul now moves on to deal with some personal issues in the church at Philippi. The women who are fighting must stop.

We should rejoice always. Anxiety must give way to faithful, thankful prayer. When we present our requests to God, He will give us His peace.

Finally we must keep our minds set on whatever is true, pure, right and holy.

Application

Anxiety is one of the defining emotions of this age. We are safer than ever, healthier than ever and more fearful than ever.

We like to be in control of every part of our lives. But there are some things– terrorists and illness, for example– which we cannot control.

Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything but to trust God in everything.

We say that God is in control, but often we do not really believe this. If I truly believe that God is in control, I don’t have to worry about what today might bring.

Jesus told us that our Father knows what we need even before we do. So we must learn to trust that He will direct our paths and believe that He will give us what we need to handle each day.

When we leave our cares with God, trusting in His goodness, then anxiety gives way to peace that passes all human understanding.

Prayer

Father I thank you for the knowledge that you will give me all that I need for today. I confess that sometimes I forget that you are in control and that you are good. Help me to hand over all worry to you. Amen.

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Reflection on Philippians 3:1-14

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+3.1-14

Scripture

But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless.

Observation

Paul warns us against the “dogs” who want to re-introduce circumcision. When it comes to that, Paul was the Pharisee of Pharisees. He was zealous for the Law of Moses to the point of persecuting the church.

Christ has revolutionised his values. That which he once considered valuable he now sees as worthless. Christ has taken hold of Paul so that ll he wants is Christ,

Paul has not yet reached the goal, but he keeps running the race in order to win the prize that God has for him.

Application

When Christ takes hold of us, He completely overturns our value system. The things we used to pursue suddenly become pointless in our eyes.

Instead of the flesh we prioritise the spirit.

Instead of finding security in our job or identity in our career, we now find these in Christ.

Instead of plotting our own life directions, we surrender all to God.

Instead of secular entertainment we pursue Christian edification.

Some of these changes come quickly to us as we choose to follow Christ. Others take years or decades as we learn to align our values with those of Christ.

It is possible that ungodly activities – the sins of the flesh– have such a tight hold on us that we are blind to their significance. Some things can be addictions in which our flesh literally fights against our spirit.

But in all these things Christ is the victor. He is stronger than satan and will give us the strength to overcome.

The important thing is to keep running the race. We must not give up or grow discouraged. Keep pursuing Christ. Let Him take hold of you and let His grace transform you from the inside.

It’s not so much about giving things up that we know are wrong. It is about letting the Holy Spirit change your way of looking at life and eternity.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, I confess that there are aspects of my life which I ty to run in my own strength. Please come in and change my values so that what I now cherish I come to see as trash. Amen.

Reflection on Philippians 2:1-13

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+2:1-13

Scripture

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as better than yourselves.

Observation

If we have received any blessing at all from Christ, we should be of one mind, sharing His love. Rather than working from selfish ambition or conceit, we should be humble, considering other as better than ourselves.

We should have the mind of Christ Jesus who, though He was God, did not cling to that status. He humbled Himself, being a slave and obeying the Father even to the point of death on a cross, Therefore God exalted him, raising Him to the highest place of adoration.

Application

The world is constantly telling us to put ourselves out there, to dream big and strive to make those dreams come true.

The world is all about selfish ambition and achieving our own goals. We believe in equality but push ourselves forward at every opportunity.

The way of Christ is about surrendering ourselves to Him. Just as Christ humbled Himself to the point of a shameful death, we must humble ourselves and obey even to the point of death if necessary.

My life is no longer my own to do with as I please. It is all in the hands of God.

I must surrender all pride and conceit to God, turning away from that way of thinking. Now I must learn to consider others as better than myself.

The heart of a christian is the heart of a servant, considering the needs of others ahead of my own needs.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, teach me how to walk in your ways, surrendering all conceit and selfish ambition to you. Amen.

Reflection on Philippians 1:21-20

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+1:21-30

Scripture

For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.

Observation

For Christians, continuing to live means fruitful labour in the lordship of Christ, but dying means we get to be with Christ. Paul was aware of this dilemma. He wanted to be with Christ but also wanted to help the Philippians grow in Christ.

The Philippians are encouraged to live in a manner worthy of the gospel. They should stand firm against their opponents. Their steadfastness is evidence of their salvation but also of their foes’ destruction.

Believing in Christ and suffering for Him are both privileges from God.

Application

Many Christians live with the values of the world not of the gospel. We get so caught up in the flesh that we lose sight of the spiritual.

This earthly life, with all of its joys and griefs and ups and downs, is just the beginning of our life. We will reign with Christ for ever.

Paul was torn between living for the love of the people he oversaw and love for eternal life with Christ,

We experience fellowship with Christ in this life, but how much more shall we be with Him in the next life. To live is Christ but to die is gain.

Death is not the end of life for the believer. It is a new birth, a transition to something even better.

Always our focus must be on the long-term goal of eternity as well as on the present.

This is the ultimate win- win situation. We live well in this life and get to do it for ever. We have fellowship with Christ now, as a preparation for even better fellowship with Him in eternity.

Prayer

Father please forgive me for the times I lose sight of who I am in Christ. Help me to live every day as preparation for the life to come. Amen.

Reflection on Philippians 2:1-11

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+2.1-11

Scripture

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.

Observation

Paul exhorts us to be of full accord and of one mind. We must do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but regard others as better than ourselves.

Instead we are to let the mind of Christ be in us. He did not grasp equality with God, but instead emptied Himself, taking the form of a human servant. He humbled Himself all the way to death on the cross. Then God exalted Him to the highest place, giving Him the name above all names, so that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Application

Our society exalts individuality and selfishness. Everything is directed at self-centredness.

To let the mind of Christ dwell in us, we must learn to think of others first and put the will of the Father above everything else. Our whole way of thinking must be reversed to understand that we belong firstly to Christ and not to ourselves. We were bought with a price, and our primary duty is to find out God’s will for us and then get on with it.

Our minds are infected by the strongholds which dominate our attitudes and ways of thinking. These strongholds of satan are ways of thinking that seem so right to us that we do not even notice that they are there, much less that they are wrong.

As we let the Holy Spirit come into our thinking, He demolishes these strongholds and shows us a more godly way to think.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ please teach me to think like you think and to love others the way you love them. Please take away all self-centredness and replace it with an attitude of God-centredness. Amen.

Reflection on Philippians 3:1-14

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Referencehttps://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=philippians+3.1-14

Scripture

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call in God in Christ Jesus.

Observation

Paul tells us to beware of the mutilators of the flesh, those who trust in circumcision rather than in Christ. Paul is the peak of Jewishness and if anyone had reason to trust in the flesh it was him.

Now whatever gains he had he counts them all but loss. Everything is rubbish compared with the surpassing value of knowing Christ. His one goal now is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. He has not yet achieved this but he presses on towards the goal for the prize of knowing Christ.

Application

For Paul there was only one thing in life worth pursuing- a closer relationship with Christ.

Many people are seduced into believing that we can share worldly goals as well as godly goals. As Christians our focus must always be on Christ and Him alone.

Our work must be to glorify God. Our home life and social life must equally be avenues for pursuing Christ.

This means that we are not free to do what pleases us. In everything Christ calls the shots. It is not good enough to plan our own destiny and ask for God to bless it.

A football player who presses towards the goal is not free to pursue his own game. He is part of a team under the direction of a captain and a coach. In the same way, our lives must be subject in every way to he direction of the Holy Spirit, Otherwise we will miss our goal- fellowship with God.

Prayer

Lord help me to press towards the goal of communion with you. May I not be distracted by the things of this world, but rather let me be always focussed on you. Amen.