Extreme Living



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)
Extreme Sports | Extreme LivingPaul uses some extreme words to describe what I would call an extreme way to live your life. Ok to be honest my first response is IMPOSSIBLE. Come on Paul who can live like this!

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.

photo credits: top | bottom

9 comments:

  1. From TLMinut (not anonymous, I just don't have any accounts):
    I've just been reading at jakecolsen.com about almost this subject. It's been good reading - he writes (fiction setting) about how far from the purpose it is to "live a good life"; it's about relationship - the story is simple but so pointed and relevant.
    It reminds me of a woman who was a new christian, she was frantic to DO something, 'What do I do now? I need a list!' Why do we always immediately say things like "read the Bible, set up a devotion time, go to church..." when what we really should do is help them pray? Continually? Don't we believe God can lead them to what to read as long as they remain constantly in His presence?
    I've been discovering that HE is the one making the changes. Two things happened recently:

    One - we are poor, very poor, facing shutoffs and all kinds of troubles. I went outside to sit and sulk, be depressed and worried, I had every intention of dwelling on everything frightening that is going on. Instead I started thanking YHWH for all that I have, all that is happening, and seeing the good that is and might still come of it! I had NO INTENTION WHATSOEVER of being grateful in any way!

    TWO: My friend confessed to me that she is entirely bigoted and unfairly prejudiced against Mexicans. Then she told me she had just been downtown and was approached by a Mexican man selling tamales homemade by his wife. Normally she would never speak to a strange man on the street, certainly not a Mexican, and definitely wouldn't buy food from someone like that. But she said she looked up when he spoke to her and was overwhelmed with love for him! She wanted to help him out by giving him her business and being friendly. She was amazed by the love and compassion that filled her for this stranger out of nowhere.

    Makes me question the whole concept of "free will".

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  2. Was at my men's small group this morning studying suffering for being a Christian, and what that means. Here in the United States, what kind of suffering does the church undergo? It's way too easy for me to be like the church of Laodecia: lukewarm. By God's grace, my I be living in such a way that identifies me with Jesus: which means that I will not be liked by some! Without Him, I can't do anything!

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  3. I believe these are the essential ingredients of a simple and contented lifestyle in Christ. Without them, we will never enjoy the tremendous blessings of the Triune God.

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  4. Hi Friend.. Interesting post.. Nice blog.. Keep up the good work.. Do visit my blog and post your comments.. Take care mate.. Cheers!!!

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  5. Prayer is essential in changing the way we live. It IS about a relationship with God first. And what better way to deepen this relationship than reading the very words he has given us in the Bible, talking to Him, and listening to Him. Thanks TLMinut for taking the time to respond. Great real life examples.

    Amen Steve! "Without Him, I can't do anything!"

    We often make "living" to complex. The Bible is a great source of us in understanding what is important to God. Thanks for commenting "yeokeehui".

    Thanks for visiting Sriram.

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  6. In other words, Paul never lowered the standards set out by Jesus. Sadly, we have brought it low in our generation

    Sid

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  7. Paul has so much to teach us, especially in this day and age!

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  8. I press on also and believe that I can do the impossible with God at my side. Sometimes I fall, but I never fail to pick myself up, brush off my knees and start over. For I know if God is for me, then who can be against?

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