Note: We will be moving on to the Old Testament to Song of Solomon tomorrow!
Vs. 1, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!” Even in the midst of all of our trials, Paul exhorts us to stand firm and be confident in the Lord. It’s all about looking at the cup as half-full rather than half-empty. We can throw pity parties for ourselves all we want, but what will that accomplish? When we are not rejoicing and trusting…we are like little child who is worried that their father will drop them when He carries them in His arms. We of little faith. Let us stand firm in the Word of the Lord this week and in prayer!
Regarding application…Secret to Life. Vs. 12, “...I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…” In this world of sorrow, tribulation & struggles…Paul is about to share a very important secret to life! He’s not doing a Biblical Infomercial and selling it for $29.99…it’s a secret that we all could apply so that we can have the strength to live this life. Question: What is that Secret? It is found in the very next verse. Vs. 13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Huh??? But…that is such a simple answer?!?! But that is exactly the reason why it is so profound! It isn’t about how well versed you are in His Word (though it is good to be)…it isn’t about how long you pray every day….it isn’t about serving faithfully every Sunday…. It’s about realizing that the only way you can be content…the only way you can find success is allow Him (Jesus) to strengthen you! Isn’t that great? We don’t have to go spiritually do some crazy exercise or go through a bunch of hoops. We simply have to let go and let God do his amazing spiritual transformation in our lives! And when that happens, the reading of His Word, prayer and service will follow. That is one very powerful secret to live this life for Jesus!
Vs. 7, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” Perspective…Paul had the advantage of seeing both sides of life. Seemingly having it all…the reputation, the education, the righteousness, the citizenship, etc. But all those gains…all those things were nothing compared to what he now has in Christ. Paul had to lose that which he had to gain that which Christ has. But he didn’t rest on his laurels…he pressed on and realized there is always more to gain and learn (vs. 12-14). We need to stop looking at the world as our example and start remembering who we belong to for we are citizens of Heaven!
Regarding application…Your Role Model. Vs. 17, “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” Question: Who are your role model’s? Growing up, I looked up to Michael Jordan. I wanted to be “like Mike”. We look at successful people whether athletes, movie stars, singers, etc. and envy their life. But, Paul reminds us that we are to not be that way. We must look to those who set the example and model for Christ. It could be your parents, Pastor’s, friends at school…these are the people we look up to. These are your role models.