Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death;”
The verse begins with a desire to know Christ. It begins wanting a very intimate relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Christ is leveled throughout this verse. Throughout life we work diligently to connect to certain individuals or even certain groups. We contemplate how we can connect in such a way that we develop a great relationship with them. We build such relationships by figuring out areas where we can relate to one another. However; I am afraid that we have completely failed in the area of relating to Christ. We have failed because we think He relates to things in our life that He does not have much experience. If we are going to connect to Christ then we must embrace the following principles:
- Salvation – no one will ever connect with Christ without first experiencing the resurrection power through salvation. Our religious experiences are not going to be what connects us to the Lord. A personal relationship through saving knowledge of Christ will be what connects us to the Lord. Christ can definitely relate to defeating death, hell, and the grave. Those that accept Christ as Savior will really be able to connect on the same grounds.
- Suffering – not the part of Christianity we want to accept, but it is definitely a reality. Jesus knows very little about the blessings of homes, money, or friendships. He knows a lot about suffering. Our suffering connects us to Christ on a level unlike any other. It is through our sufferings that Christ fellowships with His children
- Sacrifice – conforming to his death, means we must accept the principle of sacrifice within our lives. In other words, those things we normally count as a loss, God counts them as gain. Sacrifice is the ultimate connection point with Christ. None can Sacrifice the level of Christ, but when we sacrifice for Christ or because of Christ then we are bringing our relationship with Christ to a higher level.
Today’s Challenge – Which connection level do you see yourself? Embrace a relationship with Christ through these three experiences.
Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Many times we approach God with a very…well…”whatever” type mentality. The attitude that we are deserving of God’s presence must be removed immediately. So much of our ideas, beliefs, and decisions are made without God’s view or heart. Fear and trembling should be the way we approach God.
- We Must Make Our Decisions With Fear And Trembling – We would be way better off approaching God with reverence and respect. Each decision must be made with the judgment of God in the backdrop.
- We Must Establish Our Beliefs With Fear and Trembling – We should be willing to overlook what everyone else believes in order to establish a Bible based faith. Just because our Grandparents and Parents believed it, does not make it the right belief
- We Must Create Our Ideas With Fear and Trembling – If not careful our sinful imaginations will create ideas that our false.
Today’s Challenge: Keep God’s Judgment in the backdrop of every belief, decision and idea. It will help keep us all in check!
Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”
Much can be drawn from the contents of this verse. The key phrase to this text is the words “striving together”. This reminds me today of the value of unity. The Lord values unity and harmony between his people. It is essential that Christians quit battling one another and start working together. I have come to the conclusion that much of American Christianity is lost in its own selfishness. We find Christians calling out other Christians over Facebook, Twitter, and other outlets of social media. They are gossiping, complaining, and belittling fellow believers rather than loving, understanding, and building them up. Someone the other day asked what I thought about the methodology of another Church and my first question was – “Are folks getting Saved?” Really, is that not the general objective? My heart breaks this morning over the fact that more congregations are battling and bickering over the minors, when we should be worried about the majors. Just for a reminder, I would like to discuss some essential steps that would help all of us strive together.
- Assess Your Conversation – When you assess your conversation, is it one that would promote the gospel or harm the gospel. Listen closely…when we talk poorly of other Christian Leaders, we could be directly effecting the salvation of others. Regardless of whether we like them, agree with them, or even believe if they are truly Christian we must guard our conversation because it could have a direct influence on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Avoid Badgering, Battling, and Bickering with other Christians – I feel as though the reason most of our battles are being lost is because we are so focused on the methods and actions of other Christians instead of concentrating on reaching the lost. I encourage you to ask yourself some questions – Is the Gospel Being Preached? Are People Getting Saved? If so, shout about it rather than scoff about it.
- Act Like A Christian – Lost people have a standard that they actually expect from the Christian world and they know when we are not acting like we should. You guessed it….it is called hypocrisy! Don’t be “that” in front of a lost world.
Today’s Challenge – Look at the actions, attitude, and conversation and decide whether you are the causing harmony or discord. Remember that we are to be battle together and not against each other. Don’t be the one that destroys the unity of God’s people or hinders the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 6:2-3 “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
Honor is the act of respect, and appreciation. There are many who believe that this scripture only applies to those that have not yet reached adulthood. However; this is a scripture that truly measures our adulthood. God gives this command and feels so strongly about the obedience to it that he places a significant promise along with it.
- Note the Precept – Honor the authority God has placed in our lives. Outside of God himself, our parents are and will remain authoritative figures in our lives. Those that cannot honor their parents will not be able to honor the Lord.
- Note the Peace – God want us to be able to say “it is well”. Those that struggle to honor the authority within their lives will be the ones that struggle with the peace of God in their lives.
- Note the Promise – Those that obey this commandment will have a long life on earth. That is a commandment worth keeping.
Today’s Challenge: Remember to honor those that God has given authority over you!
Ephesians 5:6 “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”
We live in world where people want to be told what they “want” to hear rather than being told what they need to hear. The Bible says that we should avoid being deceived with vain words, or rather, “empty words”. We cannot be a generation of ear ticklers and crowd pleasers. I think this verse highlights the fact that God is very displeased with disobedience. Those that live a life of complete disobedience toward the Lord and His Word should expect His divine wrath. God’s wrath is something that we must never take too lightly. We have to overcome the fear of rejection, and realize that people are in complete need for truth. My heart breaks because we are wasting moments, and messages trying to make sinners feel better about their sin, when God says that His wrath is kindled toward those that live out lives of complete disobedience.
- To Those That Are Believers – Quit trying to be a crowd pleaser, and start speaking truth to those that need to hear it. Truth can be presented graciously and tenderly, but we need not avoid allowing people to hear just what they want to hear.
- To Those That Are Non-Believers – If you don’t obey the call of God in your life then God’s wrath is what is to come for you. A life of disobedience will result in the experience of God’s wrath.
Today’s Challenge: Please make sure we solidify our words with something that people need to hear. May our conversations be more than just hollow, empty, vain words.
Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
I had to ask the Lord if this was really possible. If we were all honest, we would come to the conclusion that the majority of our anger is because of sin. The reason the majority of our anger is sinful is because we become angry out of selfishness. The Lord desires that we remain under control. God is not looking for self control, but he is looking for sovereign control. We must desire to remain under the control of the Lord. The basic rule is that we steer clear of sin when we become angry. Honestly, the majority of our anger usually ends in repentance. Then we see a principle about anger. Even in anger we must be sure not to go to bed with it. How many times have we to bed with anger in our hearts? God specifically says to make sure we not allow the sun to go down on our wrath. When we go to sleep angry it gives room for the devil to do a work in our lives. We must realize that anger is a tool of the devil. God can only use the anger that is not tainted with sin. The devil will use all anger in our hearts to cause severe devastation and destruction in our lives.
Today’s Challenge: Assess your anger. Determine if it is tainted with sin or if you have lived in it for an extended period of time. If so, then please repent and seek reconciliation.
Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
It is so important that we never over look or underestimate the power of God. I think it is important that we realize God is able to some great and mighty things with our lives. We get so caught up operating within our own strength that we forget about the ability of God’s power.
- God is Able – Nothing handicaps God. The question of “can God…?” should always be answered by “Yes God Can!”
- God’s Ability Reaches Further than our Imagination – The fact that this verse says that God can “do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” absolutely blows my mind. This basically means that our vast imaginations of great things actually places limits on God’s ability. Think about it like this – If you can imagine it, then God can actually do it bigger and better! WOW!!!
- God Desires to Do Work Through Us – Notice where God wants to demonstrate and display His greatness. God desires to demonstrate this ability through our lives. A life that is submissive and surrendered to the work of God can only see these kinds of things happen. God can do exceeding abundantly above all only on the grounds that we allow Him to do it.
Today’s Challenge: Don’t limit God’s ability in our lives. It is good to have dreams and set goals, but it is also important to remember that God can far exceed those things we dream about happening.