Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children without fault in a crooked and depraved generation… (Philippians 2:15)
Blameless because he took the blame.
Pure because he purified you.
Faultless because he chose not to assign fault.
It’s not because of you, Beloved.
It’s for you
and through you.
You don’t have to make it happen.
Just let it happen.
Happy Friday, Beloved
Do everything without complaining or arguing… (Philippians 2:14)
Remember, Paul’s talking to the Church here. These are believers, Christ followers, ambassadors of hope in a really sad, perverse, messed-up world.
Kinda like ours.
Beloved, look at the news.
Look out the window.
This is a time to remember what unifies us, not what pulls us apart. Yes, there are non-negotiables of the faith–the nature of God, and of Man, and of the Word–but they are comparatively few. Most of the things that separate us are not essential to the core of life with Christ. And while we bicker, the world is blown further and further from the Truth.
As an old pastor of mine would say, there are elephants and there are peanuts. Deal with the elephants, and don’t worry about the peanuts.
Happy Thursday, Beloved
Do everything without complaining… (Philippians 2:14)
Think about it–complaining is basically saying to God, “You’re doing this part wrong, Lord of the Universe. I’m annoyed with the plan that you have for me, and I don’t really trust that you’ve got it all under control.”
I’m not a trained theologian, but I’m thinking that is not the best way to pursue one’s relationship with the Almighty.
Is Paul telling me that I can’t be frustrated when I don’t understand what’s happening and why it’s happening? No…I’m pretty sure God understands frustration, and he wants us to be honest with him.
But complaining is more than just getting frustrated every once in a while. Complaining is an attitude of the heart, and it brings you and everyone around you down.
So knock it off, you little whiner.
Oh, sorry–did I write that out loud?
Beloved, if you trust God, if you believe he is in control, if you know in your heart that he wants what’s best for you, then relax and let him do the God part.
You do the you part.
Which, frankly, is enough to keep us all busy, ya?
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
…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.