For me, to live is Christ…Philippians 1:21
In January, I completed a reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app called How to
Survive Thrive. The purpose of doing this study was to learn more about what it means to Flourish, which is my focus word for the year. I wrote about what I learned here.
Following that study, I was led to the book of Philippians. I’ll be doing a very slow and in-depth study of that book over the few months. I’m basically studying one passage a week. I usually read through that scripture several times and sometimes listen to it being read on the Bible app. I meditate on it; meaning I have the scripture on my mind, mulling it over as I go about my days. I make notes of my observations and any insight given by the Spirit. I also do some research into certain verses, as led by the Spirit. This often leads to reading related sermons by John Piper on DesiringGod.org.
The first week of February was spent doing an overview of the entire book. This overview was to understand the context in which the scripture was written, and to get the main ideas, before digging in deeper.
Philippians was written by the apostle Paul while imprisoned and it’s a letter to the church in Philippi. He wrote it to thank them for their support and uses that opportunity to encourage them as well. Some of the major themes in the book are servant leadership, unity amongst believers, and joy in the Lord. Some of the main ideas I observed are to live for God’s glory, rejoice always, work while we have life, and serve like Jesus.
In the second week, I studied the first passage, which is verses 1-11 in the CSB version. My main personal takeaway from reading the entire book and particularly this first passage, had to do with living for the glory of God. Paul mentions that in 3 different verses. I have a bible journaling entry with more on that here. I also noted that Paul prayed for them, that they would continue to grow in love and bear fruit for Christ. But also saying that this is a work that God started in them and it is He who will complete it in His timing.
I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus… And 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: 6,9-11
Week 3 was spent in the second passage, verses 12-20. Paul tells them that his imprisonment has been good for furthering the gospel in several ways. For one, it was made known to unbelievers in his proximity. Secondly, it emboldened other believers in preaching the gospel themselves. So he rejoices in his suffering as a result of that, and that glorifies God. I was very encouraged by his attitude of living for Christ no matter what comes his way. He trusts that God has a plan and He’s working it all out for good. But also, doing that gladly, rejoicing, not doing so out of obedience only.
Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice because I know this will lead to my salvation through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.Philippians 1:18-19
The last week of February was spent in verses 21-30. It starts off with a continuation from the last passage which ended with Paul saying that he wants to honour Christ in his life and death. Here, Paul tells them that to live is Christ and to die is gain.
To live means fruitful work for him which is necessary for their sake. And to die means that he gets to be with Christ. He’s obviously conflicted but chooses to put aside his preference for the betterment of the kingdom. The passage ends with Paul reminding them of their citizenship – not of Rome, or anywhere on Earth but that of Heaven. And so they should live according those heavenly values.
This all resonated with me personally, as our family is currently planning to move to a home of our own this year. We’ve concluded that instead of pursuing our preferences in terms of where we will live, what type of home we want, etc. to give that over to God, and go where He needs us for His purpose.
What opportunities do you have right now to live for Christ?
In which areas do you need to live more in line with your values, for His glory?
Joy & Peace, Sister!