Life { Faith } Tea

and ramblings on everything in between

Can I Get an Amen?

I am slowly (very slowly) making my way through the Old Testament and whenever I can’t take it anymore I flip to Philippians. My breath of fresh air. My ‘Amen, sister!’

Four short chapters that are packed with some intense life lessons. Here are a few of my favorites.

Philippians

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” { Philippians 1:6 }
How many times have I started something and stopped halfway through? Or started something in my mind but forgot about it before the coffee mug hit the table again? I’m happy to know that Jesus isn’t about that. He won’t tell us to do something, to get rid of something, or to add something and then stop helping us halfway through it. Every good work He is stirring up within you will be carried out to completion. Think of the good we could accomplish if we lived with the same commitment.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” { Philippians 1:27 }
I take this to me no matter the circumstances, no matter the company, no matter the day, do as Jesus would do. It’s easy to put on a church face around my church friends and a work face around my work friends and let them look like two different people. To be worthy of Jesus we must act in a way that is worthy of Him. If Jesus showed up on your doorstep this evening, would we let him in right away? Or would you make Him wait a few minutes so you could clean up?

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” { Philippians 2:3 }
There is a note above my kitchen sink, where I spend a substantial amount of time washing dishes, that says, ‘Does this benefit God? Does this benefit others?’ I know that I have a tendency to become very selfish with my time, and I try to let this note remind me every day that this life needs to be about Him and everyone else. It’s a battle I continue to lose but in the midst of it I do see small victories. I hope we can all find moments in our days to extend a helping hand or a kind word or an enormous gift because we’re all just trying to get through this together. We need to take care of one another.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” { Philippians 2:14 }
Really God? Everything? Like literally everything? Is that even possible?

This is my overwhelming reaction to that verse. Oh, how He knows us so well, huh? There is plenty of grumbling that comes out of this mouth, and again I am grateful that Jesus lived His life in such a way to prove that, yes, it is possible and, yes, it is expected.

“[He] will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” { Philippians 3:21 }
I love that we are being transformed every day, even when we don’t realize it. Because God is always working and never ceasing in our lives and in our hearts. Each day is a day to learn and grow and do good, and I know I need to put more trust in the fact that God is turning this body into something that is worthy of Him. I want to be active in that process with Him, purposefully and strategically seeking out ways to transform the way I think and the way I act.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” { Philippians 4:4 }
This is one of my all time favorite verses. Not just because it’s short and easy to memorize (that is a plus!) but because it applies to any and every situation in life. Flat tire on the way to work? Rejoice! New baby on the way? Rejoice! Pink slip at work? Rejoice! Fun vacation to Fiji? Rejoice!

The ups and downs, the highs and lows should be treated with one action: rejoicing. This life lesson does not come easy, at least not in my life, but as we slowly go through the transformation of becoming like Jesus, we will better be able see why rejoicing should be our response to everything that comes our way. We can choose to rejoice because no matter what we are surrounded by His love. And no matter what, He will not leave our side. Remember what I said earlier? The good work that He starts in us will not go unfinished. Rejoice for that.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” { Philippians 4:6 }
I get a big F for this one. I’m an anxious person and it’s only getting worse with age. I have all the ‘do not be afraid’ verses memorized so I can repeat them to myself in moments of weakness, but honestly, it doesn’t do much to help. I get trapped in analyzing different situations and expecting the worst when I should be constantly and whole heartedly presenting my anxiety to the only one who can take it away. Diligence is key.

“For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance.” { Philippians 4:11 }
Again, big F. I bring up contentment a lot on this blog. This reminds me a little bit of the saying, ‘You get what you get and you don’t complain.’ Life often hands us things that we can’t fully anticipate or explain. It’s a guarantee that something like that is coming down the line at any given moment so embrace what you have and who you are and what you’re capable of every moment you get. Things and situations and circumstances don’t make us content. We like to look at them as if they do or will, but I’m beginning to understand that it’s a state of mind not a state of life.

Transformation takes struggle and commitment because otherwise we would not begin to understand the struggle Jesus went through to save us. If we could truly learn and internalize a few principles like these in a matter of hours or days, the magnitude of their importance might be wasted on us.

Instead, friends, it might take a lifetime to really put these into practice. A lifetime of learning and growing and longing to be more like of the one who loves us beyond belief. A continuous commitment to become more.

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This entry was posted on July 31, 2014 by in Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Life Lessons and tagged , .

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