I was challenged and encouraged by both the boldness and honesty of the apostle Paul in the letter he wrote to the Philippian Church.
In this letter Paul raises the bar on how to live as a follower of Christ. Really, when you think about it and are completely honest, it is an extreme way to live. I rewrote some of what I found challenging from the letter into personal statements. I created this list.
- Whatever happens I will live in a way that brings honor to the good news about Christ. (Philippians 1:27)
- I will do Nothing out of selfish ambition. (Philippians 2:3)
- I will not be jealous or proud, but humble and consider others More important than myself. (Philippians 2:3-4)
- I will care about others as Much as I care about myself. (Philippians 2:3-4)
- I will do Everything without complaining or arguing. (Philippians 2:14)
- All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. (Philippians 3:8-9)
- I will Always be glad and rejoice because of the Lord. (Philippians 4:4)
- I will be gentle with Everyone. (Philippians 4:5)
- I will not worry about Anything, but pray about Everything with a thankful heart. (Philippians 4:6)
- I will keep my mind on Whatever is true, pure, right, holy, lovely, and proper. (Philippians 4:8)
- I will Never stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)
- I will be content in All circumstances and content with Whatever I have. (Philippians 4:11-12)
Paul is not afraid to lay the ideal out before us, even if it is beyond us. With the extreme words he uses Paul describes the ultimate and perfect way we ought to conduct our lives. He does not shy away from putting the impossible mark out there for himself and the rest of us. Paul eloquently presents an extreme way of living in this letter he wrote to his friends in Philippi. He extorts the Christ Followers in Philippi to live in a way that he himself admits he has not been able to completely. Paul is honest with them and reminds them that he has "not already obtained all this." In this letter among all these extreme statements he boldly admits that he is not THERE yet.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)I am not THERE yet, but I press on.
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