Examples to Us
Philippians 3:17-4:1 NASB
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
Not everyone who claims to believe in Jesus Christ and to be a Christian is truly a believer or a follower of Jesus Christ. Not everyone who serves as a pastor, deacon, elder, worship leader or Bible teacher, within the church, knows Jesus Christ and follows him with their lives. For, there are many liars and deceivers, even within the church, and many people are being deceived by these wolves in sheep’s clothing.
So, we must be very discerning regarding those we listen to and whose examples we follow, for we need to be following those who follow Jesus Christ, not just those who say they are following Christ.
So, how do we know the difference? We know it by studying the scriptures, and by knowing what they teach regarding our salvation, our spiritual walks, and our eternal life with God. And, we know it by studying the lives of those in the scriptures who lived lives pleasing to God, and by following their godly examples to us. And, we know it by the Spirit now living within us.
Those who lived lives, which are pleasing to God, walked in holiness, purity, righteousness, and with integrity. They were not perfect people, but they did not use lack of perfection as an excuse for continued and willful sin against God. They walked in the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, and their minds and their lifestyles were set on our Lord, not on the pleasures that this world offers us.
They were dedicated to the Lord and to his service, laying down their lives and their reputations in order to follow our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will. And, many of them died for their faith in Jesus Christ, and for their testimonies for him and his gospel.
Rejoice in the Lord
Philippians 4:4-7 NASB
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We should find our joy, thus, in the Lord, in his Word, and in obedience to him and to his service, and not in the pleasures this sinful world has to offer us. And, we should allow his love within us to flow out through us to other people’s lives. His love for us is what led him to die on a cross for our sins so that we could be delivered from our bondage to sin and now walk in freedom from the control of sin and in the Lord’s righteousness and holiness. And, this is how we are to love others, too, laying down our own lives and reputations in order to see others walk in freedom from sin’s deceitfulness.
But, we don’t love others with words only, but with our actions, and in truth. We must be fair and reasonable (gentle) in our approach with others, not harsh, but kind, but never compromising truth or going soft on sin in order to appease human flesh or in order to ensure that others will like us. Our goal should always be to please God and not the flesh of humans, and to do what is truly in the best interest of others, i.e. what is truly for their good.
But, in this process of loving others with the love of Christ, we will face opposition from our enemy Satan, who will use other humans to come against us to try to get us to be afraid of what they might do to us. But, we are not to fear them or our circumstances or what may or may not happen to us, because our Lord is on the throne, and he is in control over every aspect of our lives, and nothing can touch us but what God allows it, and for his purposes, and that he will bring us through it all for his glory.
On These Things
Philippians 4:8-9 NASB
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
So, we need to keep our minds focused on the Lord, and not on what humans may or may not do to us, and not on the pleasures of this world or the troubles that this world may bring our way. We have to keep looking to Jesus, and centering our minds on him, and on his purposes for our lives, and on how we can live our lives to be pleasing to him and to his service.
How our minds are focused, too, has a lot to do with what we allow into our minds and what we choose to dwell on each and every day. If daily we are consuming garbage in our minds through what we watch or listen to or read, then this is what will be in our minds. If we, as well, allow temptation to worry, fret, or fear what others may do to us consume our thinking, and even begin to worry about things which may not even exist, then this is what will consume our thinking.
So, we need to reject temptation to worry and we need to put off (cut out of our lives) all the garbage this world has to offer us, so that our minds can focus on things above and not on things of this world. And, then we need to fill our minds with all kinds of good things – whatever is true, honorable, right and pure, etc. If we find that our minds are beginning to wander off to what is not wholesome or to what is fearful, then we need to reject those thoughts, and recenter our thoughts on the things of God.
In Every Circumstance
Philippians 4:10-13 NASB
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Life is not always going to be easy. Not everything is going to go the way in which we might hope. Troubles will come our way, as will temptations. We will face opposition from our enemy and his many hordes when we follow our Lord in obedience. People will mistreat us, reject us and will falsely accuse us. And, we won’t always know how we are to respond.
So, we call on our Lord, and we seek his counsel and wisdom, and we follow His lead, but then we rest in Him, and we leave the results in His hands, and we learn to live in whatever circumstance our Lord places us, in His grace, and in His wisdom, and in His power at work within us, helping us to do what we might not be able to do in the natural, and he will supply us with all that we need.
Lord, I Need You
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart…
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You…
Saturday, May 5, 2018, 4:17 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. Help me, Lord, to always keep my mind stayed on You.