How can we determine if we’re succeeding in life, and with all the things we are attempting?
I’m still thinking about my focus word for the year – Flourish. What I’ve learned so far is that God wants me to thrive in response to His word and ultimately for His glory. Now I get that but I don’t fully understand it. That truth has not been fully revealed to me as yet. So I think that’s why I’ve been led to study the book of Philippians this month and I’ll be doing that very slowly over the next few months.
At the time of this journaling entry, I’d only done an overview reading of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. This is to understand the context of what is written before delving in deeper. It struck me each time I read Paul said for something to be done, and he ends it with “for God’s glory” essentially.
In chapter 2, he encourages them to serve with the same humility of Christ, who God exalted so that:
… every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:11
In chapter 4, he thanks them for their support then says:
And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.Philippians 4:19-20
I’ve highlighted Philippians 1:9-11 for my journaling because it seems to be most related to flourishing, to growing in faith.
I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.Philippians 1:9-11
This is our main purpose in this life – to bring God glory, making His name known. This is our measure of success.
The world tells us that we’re successful if we have fame, money, material things, a good marriage, well-behaved children, etc. But our true test, the question we should ask ourselves when we wonder if we’re doing well at anything in particular, is this: is God being glorified?
There is so much freedom in living this way because it takes the effort from our own hands to God’s as we simply seek to know and do His will.
To document this in my journaling bible, I used the January faith art box by Creative Retreat Kits (referral link). It’s called Upside Down Kingdom and it talks about how God instructs us to live counter-culturally. To not follow the ways of the world, but His ways, which are often opposite.
The devotional uses scripture primarily from the book of Matthew, and the sermon on the mount in particular. While the world tells us to be the best, come in first, follow our hearts and strive for our own desires; God’s word tells us to love and value what he does. To live selflessly and obediently like Jesus did.
This gives us a joy and peace which we cannot find by doing life the world’s way. It sets us free from striving for the temporal things the world tells us is important.
For the entry itself, I started off by making a background. I placed two leafy branch stamps together, then stamped using a yellow ink (called Yield, also by Creative Retreat). I covered the margin, top and bottom sides of the page.
This was supposed to be a subtle background to just get a bit of colour on the page. But I think I used too much ink. It’s more vibrant than I intended. I probably should have used less ink or stamped it off first on a scrap piece of paper before stamping on the page. I still like how it turns out though, it’s a nice pattern.
I spelled out my title using the tile alphas. I added a tab because this is another lesson I’m sure I’ll be returning to repeatedly.
Next, I added some ephemera pieces at the bottom. I love this flag with the heart on it! This is the flag flying in the kingdom we belong to – one of love. It’s a beautiful reminder of who God is and who we are as His children. As well as to our purpose which is to love others.
Then I added some more stickers to fill in areas that looked a bit empty. I finished with writing out a prayer asking Him to lead me in all of this. Check out the video linked below to see how it all came together.
Joy & Peace, Sister!