…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Philippians 2:13)
Let’s face it–without the Holy Spirit, not only are you not able to be the person God has called you to be,
you don’t even want to be.
He gives you the desire to follow him, and then he equips and enables you to follow him. He gives you the desire to glorify him, and then he provides the strength and opportunity to do it.
So that part where you feel like you’re not strong enough, or brave enough, or good enough, or wise enough, or dedicated enough?
It’s also irrelevant.
God hasn’t called you to be anything
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling… (Philippians 2:12)
The destination is assured, but you still have to take the journey.
No, Beloved, Paul isn’t saying that you have to earn your salvation. He’s spent a lot of ink teaching us that our salvation is a gift, purchased with the very life of God’s only Son, and that we need only to receive it.
But there’s a process.
There’s a road between who we are and who we’re called to be.
And it’s work, because the road is long and rough and steep.
And there’s fear, because we can’t yet see the finish line, and sometimes we wonder if we’ll ever get there.
And we tremble, because we have used up all the strength in our spiritual muscles, and they twitch with exhaustion, and the road is still before us.
There are steps God’s going to call you to take today, steps you won’t want to take because you are tired and scared and frustrated and feeling like you’re making no progress toward the goal.
Take the steps, Beloved.
They lead home.
…to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:11b)
It was all for the Father’s glory.
Exalted to the highest place…
given the name above all names…
every knee bowing…
every tongue confessing him Lord…
All of it
Looking back at these verses, it seems that Christ’s whole purpose was to obey, and by obeying glorify, the Father. Yes, he came to die for us, but isn’t that also serving the higher purpose of glorifying God? He came, he died, he rose, to bring the Father glory.
For God so loved the world that he sent his Son…
Never has there been a life more worthy.
So, Beloved of Christ. What within you is “to the glory of God the Father?” What within you cries out to obey, and by obeying glorify, him?
Listen to that something.
Follow that something.
Happy Friday, Beloved
…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord… (Philippians 2:11a)
I am so looking forward to this.
Just imagine it. Everyone who has ever mocked Christianity, everyone who has ever scoffed at the idea of Creation, everyone who has ever lived a life that blasphemed the King of All—every last one will confess Jesus as Lord.
I know I shouldn’t gloat, and hopefully when the moment comes I will be too awestruck, too humbled, too filled with joy and eternity and the presence of my Lord to gloat,
but right now…
thinking about it…
Let’s just call it reason #863 to be glad I’m not God.
Happy Thursday, Beloved.
…that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in Heaven, on Earth, and under the earth… (Philippians 2:10)
We’re not real big on kings here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Bowing the knee to anyone sort of sticks in our collective craw. After all, we fought a revolution to chuck the King of England over the side of the boat, and we haven’t missed him much. We’re an independent, self-sufficient, stand-on-your-own-two-feet kind of people.
But we’re gonna bow—all of us.
Californians will bow.
New Yorkers will bow.
Republicans will bow.
Democrats will bow.
Angels will bow.
Demons will bow.
Your neighbor will bow.
The idiot driver who cut you off will bow.
You, my friend, will bow.
The question of the day is this: How does that make you feel? Do you
(A) shift uncomfortably at the thought of giving up the last wisps of your illusion of independence,
(B) tremble with joy at the thought of finally kneeling before the king of the universe, or
(C) offer a halfhearted “cool” and go about your business?
Far be it from me to intrude, but may I suggest that if your answer is anything other than (B) you spend some time in conversation with the One to whom you will one day bow? It might make the whole experience more pleasant.
Just a thought for your Wednesday.
Happy Day, Beloved.
…and gave him the name that is above all names… (Philippians 2:9b)
We know him by many names.
Lamb of God
Prince of Peace
Light of the World
The Bright Morning Star
Man of Sorrows
Lion of the Tribe of Judah
The Author and Finisher of Our Faith
Bread of Life
God calls him by another name,
And here’s something really crazy. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, do you know what God now calls us?
Yes, you do.
How can that be? What can that mean?
Something to chew on as you walk through today.
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place… (Philippians 2:9a)
This is deep and profound and utterly beyond me.
The word “Therefore” indicates to me that Jesus was exalted as a result of his obedience to the Father. Yet he was raised to the position that was already his by his very nature—the position he gave up when he came to us as a man. Why could he not simply claim by right that which was his from eternity?
He could have, of course.
He chose not to.
He chose to follow the path of sacrifice and submission. I am continually amazed, not only by Christ’s power, but by his willingness to restrain that power. I have no doubt that, if I were in his place (as unlikely an image as you’re ever gonna get), I would not have waited for the Father to exalt me. I would have exalted myself.
Reason #42 to be glad I’m not God.
Happy Monday, Beloved.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8)
He didn’t have to die—you know that.
He chose to die, for reasons I still can’t fully grasp. I mean, I understand the basic theological concept of redemption. He who knew no sin, taking the burden of my sin upon himself, dying in my place to pay the price for that sin and restore my relationship to the Father. He took the punishment because—and here’s where my brain locks up—he thinks I’m worth it.
I hope he’s right.
I can’t wrap my head around the concept, but I can wrap my heart around it.
That’s enough for now.
Still, the whole thing is just so very not the way I would have done it.
And there you go, folks—reason #37 to be glad I am not God.
Thank you, Lord, that you were willing to pay the price I could never pay.
Thank you, Father, that it did not end with the cross.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6-7).
He was perfect.
He knew everything
Everything that has ever been was made with the thought of his heart and the breath of his mouth.
But he stepped down from all that into a broken world. A world of
That is the attitude to which we are called, Beloved. We step into that same world today. We may know
Are you up to the challenge?
Let’s pray for each other today, Beloved.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5)
No pressure here—just have the same attitude as the Lord of the Universe, OK? Got it?
This is your calling, Beloved of Christ. God wants you to become like him, to be conformed to his image, to see the world through his eyes and love it with his heart. Tomorrow we will look at what Paul means by an attitude, “The same as that of Christ Jesus.” For today, just consider this: God has called you—commanded you—to be like him. Not in some cultish “I will be a god myself one day!” sort of way, but in a, “I love you so much that I want to be just like you!” kinda way.
If you provide the want-to, he’ll provide the how-to.
And frankly, if you ask, he’ll even provide the want-to.
He’s pretty awesome that way.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.