Today started out horribly. I had to wake up extra early as we are back to having one car, I realized that I had forgotten to put in the fridge/freezer the breastmilk I had so diligently pumped yesterday and it all was soured, then I couldn’t find my keys anywhere. Ug. We finally got out the door and I got to work very early with no keys. So I made a little trip to Starbucks where I purchased a 1/2 caf double shot over breve with white mocha and peppermint syrup in it (Yum!) with a gift card that had been every so kindly given to me and took it back to my office where I sat in my car waiting for my boss to get there and open the door. While sitting I cleaned out my purse and decided to take the extra time on my hands and spend a few minutes in the Word. I read through Philippians. I love this book and have plans to work on memorizing it. I’d like to study it diligently, but for now I’m just gonna share a few thoughts.
Verses 3-11 brought me out of my morning doldrums immediately. As I read these verses I felt connected to Paul in a small way. He had ministered to the people at the church in Philippi, spent time there teaching them and instructing them and it was a joyful time for him to write to them because he had invested so much and knew that they were following what he had taught them (vs. 5). They shared in the same grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. In that moment I thought about the teenagers that Chris and I worked with in Tulsa. We spent 4 years there with that group of students and joy floods my heart as I think about where so many of them are today. Two years later they are still following Christ, being faithful to their local church, and seeking to grow in their walk with the Lord. This summer I had the privilege of spending time with a few of the girls and received a letter from another and it was so special to me to hear about their walk with Christ, how they were studying God’s word, and learning and growing in so many ways. They have grown into such beautiful young women. I say this not to boast of anything that I did, but just to glory in the way God has worked in their lives and to thank the Lord for allowing me to be a part. I kind of feel the way I think Paul did as he wrote this book. It was a letter to group of people that he loved and had invested much into and he was just encouraging them to keep going. Vs. 6–‘And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.’ I can think of nothing more encouraging to share with my former students! What God began so many years ago at your salvation (conforming you into the image of Christ (Rom 8:28-29), he is continuing today, and it WILL be completed! This encouraged ME so much this morning because I know I am sinful. I have seen my sinfulness more clearly than ever in recent months (why is it that getting married, and then having children, does so much for our sanctification?!). And to know that someday this process of becoming like my savior will come to an end, and it will not be left unfinished made today make so much more sense! All the trials of my morning were part of the process of my shaping and molding. They had a purpose. They had a reason. They were for my good.
As we read through the rest of this small passage we see Paul’s love for this group of believers. He ‘yearned’ for them with a deep affection and prayed that they would grow in their own love for each other more and more, but that it would be marked by discernment and knowledge. What a pair are these two?! Knowledge and discernment. I pray that I would be a woman marked by these two traits. Knowledge comes though study. It’s why I started this blog. I want to learn. I want to know God’s Word. And I hope that with that knowledge comes a small dose of discernment to understand the difference between truth and untruth. For it is in that discernment Paul states that we can understand what God views as ‘excellent’ and so be pure and blameless before Him, our lives filled with the fruit of righteousness that only comes through Christ and brings God glory! (You like my paraphrase?! I need to do a little more study on this passage to dig out the meaning of some of these words, but my paraphrase helps me get a general idea.) I love it and I want to be a girl like Paul is describing!