Philippians 2:17-18, NASB
17) But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
18) You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
-a drink offering is wine poured out on an altar- Paul uses this metaphor again in 2 Timothy 4:6 and it seems that he is saying that if he is put to death it will be his sacrifice to the Lord.
-Paul will gladly sacrifice his life in service of the faith, it will be his joy, and he urges the Philippian believers to join him in regarding it the same way.
I am not facing the possibility of a sentence of death. Truth be told, I do not even experience what I would call persecution for the faith, not like those I know who live in places such as Nigeria for instance. Being a Christian there can get you killed these days.
It is important to Paul that the believers in Philippi not become discouraged by his treatment- he wants them to rejoice and be joyful in their faith. I struggle to be joyful in my faith sometimes just getting ready for church on Sunday.
I wonder as we pray for those serving in dangerous parts of the world if we ought to give more consideration to Paul’s words. I have often prayed for release from prison, safety in serving, but joy in the face of persecution? It just does not even come to mind. I think I need to add that to my repertoire of prayer requests. And I think I need to work on this attitude of being a drink offering myself, just as Jesus was broken and poured out for me on the cross. Though it is much easier to say that when I am living in the abstract, when death for my faith is not even within the realm of possibility as far as I can see.
Grace and Peace,
Philippians 2:14-16, NASB
14) Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
15) so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
16) holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
-no grumbling or disputing allowed.
-my life needs to prove blameless, innocent for I am a child of God.
-In the midst of this world I need to stand out as light in the darkness, because I am a child of God.
-Imperative that I not be separated from God’s Word.
First of all I have to address that very first line, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” All Things?
Well, I certainly have some work to do in that area. I think I was doing some complaining about the laundry yesterday and a few other regular chores that were waiting for me on my day off from the new job. And I know I did a little grumbling at the alarm clock this morning. Granted these are not things that anyone else was privy to, but they do affect my heart. What is done behind closed doors is just as important as what goes on when I am out and about in the world. It is easier to be a light, when my heart is right at home too, and it is a more genuine light, which I assume is bound to shine brighter.
It is far too easy to convince myself that the world is not really watching me.
I am rarely in the spotlight; the press is not watching my every move to report
to the world how I have blown my testimony. But the world
is watching. My family is watching, my neighbors are
watching and not just the one with binoculars, my coworkers are watching, the
folks at the store and post office are watching, even the people at my local
church are watching. So how do I make sure that I am a light in the world? How
do I make sure that I will be above reproach?
A large part is in remembering what I wrote yesterday in my post on Philippians 2:12-13, but Paul says there is another vital thing I need to do. Hold fast to the word of life. Where do I find these words of life? Those words are found in my Bible; God’s word to me. Paul does not tell us just to hold on to those words, he tells us to hold fast to them. It is more than just holding the words in my hands, or in my heart. Holding fast means that I have such a grip on them that I will never let go. Holding fast means that today I will still endeavor to apply the truths learned yesterday about how to live in this world emulating Christ’s humility, obedience and submissiveness towards the Father. And I will do it without grumbling or disputing.
Perhaps it has always been this way, but there is a lot of disputing going on in the church today. We are not one as Jesus and the Father are one. Remember what Jesus’ prayer was after He told the disciples that the time was drawing near when He would leave them in John 17:20-21.
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; A)'>even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, B)'>so that the world may a]'>[a]believe that C)'>You sent Me. I don’t think that means that there are to be no disputes over doctrine, even Paul and Peter had to deal with such things. It does matter how we approach each other as we do so though. Rather, I think in this context it means that as I do what I have been asked to do such as, feed the poor, minister to the sick, care for the strangers, orphans and widows among us, and submit to
those in authority over me i.e. my husband and pastors/elders at church I do so without grumbling or disputing. Has someone ever asked you to do something and you start to argue with them about it? Perhaps I think I know a better way. I may make a suggestion for change, but if it is rejected then I need to drop it and just do what I was asked. We have a book that was a favorite of our sons when they were small, Old Noah’s Elephants. The ark was in danger of tipping over as the elephants had both moved to one side. Noah is at a loss for what to do and asks the Lord for help and is given this reply, “Tickle the hyena.” It makes no sense to him, but eventually he does it and the chain reaction that ensues solves the whole problem. Sometimes we are asked to do things that do not make sense to us. Sometimes God works iways that do not make sense to us.
I was just thinking about this yesterday in another conversation I was having about our hope in Christ. I had pinned my hopes on my brother being healed sure that it was the way God would work because of the great witness that would be to God's power over cancer, over the doctors' diagnoses that said there was nothing more they could do once it spread into his liver. God could heal him, I had no doubt of that. But that is not what He did. My brother is with Jesus in paradise now and for those he left behind God did an amazing thing. So many testimonies were shared about how my brother faced his diagnosis, how he lived out his last months concerned for others, how he faced those days with hope and not fear. During that time people saw in him the truth of the cross, the power it has to save, the power it has over death, and because of that there were those who turned their lives over to Jesus who is now at work in them as well. It was not at all the way I would have done things, and I had many late night arguments with God over it but I too got a glimpse of heaven that I would not have had otherwise. I came away with an overwhelming understanding that this world really is not our home. My place here is temporary and there is much left to be done with the time I have left. I want to be the light that Paul talks about here. I want the world to see Christ in me, to see hope and love and joy and confidence. God is at work in me both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13)
Grace and Peace,
I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
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