If there is one word that does not fit into the description of Paul, the author of the letter to the Philippians, it is the word apathetic. He easily could have been. He could have simply been satisfied with his achievements of the past and “rested on his laurels”. He could have been discouraged and/or disappointed with his present situation and circumstances. He could have lived in fear of future consequences and further persecution because of his faith. But, there was no way that he was going to let any of those things deter him from moving toward his goal.
Whom do you know that has a similar kind of commitment to moving forward and grasping on to all that God has for them to learn, to experience, and to do in this life? What is it that makes you feel that way about them? There is no one way to recognize that inner quality but Paul gives us a few clues and that is a good place to start.
There is no question that one’s past and preferences, one’s pride and perspective, can greatly influence progress. Paul makes a great recommendation to his friends. He invites them to walk together with him and with others who are moving forward. It always makes a huge difference in your pace, your consistency and your motivation when you have someone with you. Together you can encourage each other to keep looking forward, rather than back, and pressing on, rather than slowing down. You can be there for each other when one grows weary or trips over a little obstacle and needs some help.
And just think, some day Jesus will meet us at the finish line and we’ll be together with Him forever . . . so let’s keep on going.
As I read this weeks bible verses and answer the questions, what comes to mind for me is all of the distractions I have in my life. Whether it is my circumstances, suffering, hurts, or the busyness of life that I allow to distract me from daily time talking with God or reading his word, Paul puts it all in perspective – to press on toward the goal. Paul didn’t allow anything to distract him for what his purpose was in Christ Jesus. My prayer for all of us this week is that we can set aside whatever distractions we have going on in our lives and focus on Jesus and the love and grace he has for us. That we are grateful in all things, for all things and that we can spread that love and joy to those in our lives and to those that may need some encouragement this week that we have yet to meet. May our progress and joy not be hindered this week by anything. God bless you all.
Well said. Thanks, Sue.
Marilyn, I understand what you mean when you say that it makes such a difference to have someone with you. One of the most satisfying things to happen for me is when I became part of a small group…..but, it’s entirely online. The group is made up of 5 alumni —–high school classmates. Among the things we share are prayer, bible verses, jokes, articles we find interesting, and encouragement.
Thank you for the prayer, Sue. I agree that distraction can be so….so distracting!…;-) Did you see the recent study that was done on the attributes of happiness? One of the top traits of people who said they were happy was “perseverance”…..continuing in patient effort.
Seems Paul knew that a long time ago…..
I seem to be following in the footsteps of a very good friend. She has been a blessing in my life, and as I have watched and listened to her go through various trials and tribulations; I, too, seem to be finding myself in similar situations. She has been leading the way and doing it all with joy! I can see where I am going by watching where she has been.
I consider myself a baby Christian as I have only been attending TLC regularly for six years. My maternal grandmother (Thank You, God!) was most definitely a believer. My father, on the other hand, would not allow religious discussion or practice in our home. He was morally upstanding, in fact, very much like a legalist. However, he felt that people who went to church were hypocrites. Both of my favorite role models showed me a lot of love and goodness in their own way.
I believe that Paul was so passionate about his life mission because he knew both ways intimately. Once you experience God’s love and grace you can’t help but want everybody else to get “it”.
I may be new, but I jump at every opportunity to know Jesus a little more each day. When I get distracted I feel that emptiness that comes from losing my “conscious” contact with God. I pray and listen to worship music a lot to help stay connected during my busy-ness.