And that's the state that I entered into Philippians 1. Awesome!! But, seriously, its at times like these when my head is ANYWHERE but the right place that I NEED to be running to my Bible. This is the time for me to have some Jesus-work done....
So the first verse that "popped" for me was verse six:
6And I am sure of this, that he who began(H) a good work in you. will bring it to completion at(J) the day of Jesus Christ.
Incidentally, I copied that straight from Biblegateway.com where I can literally click on the cross references and they take me right to other verses in the bible on the same topic. Sweet!
Which, I really liked this one:
I think I've always found oddly comforting in verse 6 of Phil 1, because it puts in blunt terms that which I am already very aware of: "I'm not done yet."
If I were in the oven, you'd want to stick me back in. The older I get the more I realize just HOW much grace I still need from Jesus ( case in point: me thinking about myself and not my poor sweet babysitter with the messed up knee.) BUT there's a promise there. A promise that God is at work in me ( as long as I let Him!) and He's gonna stay there until His work is done!! I am so grateful that He does not give up on us, that while He does, indeed, know just what kind of awfulness goes on in my head, He's fully capable and willing to help me become a better person...to become more like Him.
The next verse that struck me was verse 12:
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.
This read through I actually went and read specifically about Paul's imprisonment in the Book of Acts:
Chapter 28 and how Paul lived in Rome ( under house arrest) for two years at his own expense talking to anyone that would come and visit him and talk to him about Jesus. I think it helped give me greater perspective. I know it might be a bit geeky but it helps me to get the "story" behind what Paul's writing his letter. And I think what reeeeally stopped me in my tracks was what he said about how him being imprisoned there had caused the Truth about Jesus to spread-sometimes because of people being sincerely inspired to share and other times because of some other mean-spiritedness in the person...either way Paul was happy that the Gospel was shared. Ummm...wait. Hold the phone!! You mean to tell me Paul didn't care what the motives of a person where as long as the Truth was shared?!? And this is how I need to be too?!?
Well, then I've wasted a LOT of energy in the past trying to figure out if the people around me were sincere or not!! I've also wasted a lot of energy judging others on how they like to tell others about Jesus, or how they show love...I'm a judger-mcjudger-pants.
The bottom line is if I cared a little less about what other people are doing and saying ( and thinking too..if I could some how figure that out) and spent more time trying hard to share what I know about Jesus and what He's done in my life with people. Well....yeah. That'd be better.
I am sincerely humbled by how little amount of credit Paul wants for himself ( I'd be all like, look at me and how God's using me! ME! ME! ME!) and how He give ALL glory to God.
And now on to verse 21-26:
For to me to live is Christ ( meaning sacrifice and suffering) , and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh ( as in on Earth), that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and to be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain (here on Earth) is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
I love these verses for several reasons. First once again, it shows Paul's devotion to the people in Philipi that he was willing to keep on going because he knew that it would be better for THEM. The other great thing here is Paul's obvious desire to be with Jesus.
I don't think I think about Heaven enough. But, really, the thought of being with Jesus is an encouragement and puts everything of today into perspective.....
I actually had to take a break writing this post last night because some things came up, and then in the middle of the night, the guy staying with us got up to take a shower and head to the airport...but left his phone alarm that had woken him up ( at 2am) on...and so, I spent a good ten minutes around 2:30am trying to find a guys phone in the midst of all his stuff while it goes off SO LOUDLY you could hear it in our room...all while he's happily in the shower.
I tell you that, because I am in desperate need of perspective. My thoughts, my priorities they are all very "worldy". They have so much to do with just getting through today, when really I should have my heart and mind so transfixed on Jesus that that stuff is but a blip. I mean, don't get me wrong. I feel sure that even Paul would have been annoyed by that cell phone. ( haha!) but I think he would have used that hour or so after when he was lying in bed, heart still racing, to pray and spend time with his Best Friend....I want to be more like that.
Ok, so this is getting super long! But I've got ONE MORE thought, and this one is where my application comes into play!!
Its from verses 27-28, ... that I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your.
I realize more and more just how SUPER IMPORTANT it is to have at least one person who you're walking side by side with it does indeed help you to stand firm and to keep striving and to not be frightened by things that come up against you ( even if its just the day to day stuff...) and so while my first thought in how to "apply" this particular idea to my life was to just in a very general way, I want to make sure its something I can quantify to you next week. So, instead, I've decided to specifically tell someone who's been of a particular encouragement in my Faith lately just HOW much they've encouraged me...and then I will also meet up with someone who I know I've neglected in the same way and hopefully I can be an encouragement to them!! I'll let you know how I do!