[CF Devotionals] 2003-08-16 - Philippians

Part 10

  1. The Submissive Mind - Cont'd.

    We have seen we can allow circumstances to be a stealer of joy. Hopefully though, we have learned that it is through a focus on Christ, and the life that He has called us live, that we can experience the joy He desires for us and rise above circumstances. As we examine them in the light of His love - and our trust in Him - we will find our joy will not be as frequently stolen by circumstances.

    So we’ve taken care of circumstances, but what of people? "I love mankind," says a famous comic strip character. "It’s people I can’t stand!" 1 And certainly people can be stealers of joy. But just as with circumstances, the real issue isn’t the circumstances or the people; rather, it is our response to them, which allows our joy to be stolen.

    In Chapter two, we will see how Paul deals with people as joy stealers. Here too, the bottom line is our relationship to Christ. We have the greatest model of all to help us understand how we are to live. Christ provides the model. It is as we look at Him for an example, and at others through Him, that we will find we will be less affected by the actions of others.

    1. The Submissive Mind Chapter 2 (Key Verse—2:3)
      1. The example of Christ Chapter 2:1-11

    Verses 1-2: Paul starts this section by reminding the Philippians what they have. He gives a short list of the blessings that come with being a believer. All are stated as "if" clauses (with the verb understood), but the condition is assumed to be true."2 The blessings are first, being united with Christ. Think about it: We are united with God. What can be greater for the creature than being united with the Creator? But with this relationship comes responsibility. This responsibility is to obey Christ and the teachings of the Apostles.

    "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).

    Second, Christ’s love was the source of the Philippians comfort and encouragement. Oh, that we might truly receive that comfort. And it is this comfort and encouragement that should lead to the response of the unity of purpose.

    Finally, these believers had unity through fellowship with the Spirit. We are one in the spirit. "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink" (1 Corinthians 12:13).

    The Philippians had fellowship with the Holy Spirit. As a result, they had the opportunity for practical unity. So the very presence of God dwells within us. How can anything or anyone cause us to stumble or to lose our joy, if we allow Him to live through us?

    Last, the Philippians, as a result of these blessings, were able to experience the tenderness and compassion of God. This also would reinforce their unity which came from being part of the body of Christ. And as they did, as we experience all these things, our focus shifts from ourselves and to God. As a result of this focus, we will develop humility, which will help us deal with people as joy stealers. Therefore, we will be able to experience His joy as we deal with others.

  1. Wiersbe, Warren W., Be Joyful, Victor Books, Wheaton, IL, 1988, p. 57.
  2. Kent, Homer H., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, “Philippians,” Zondervan Interactive Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1990, Electronic text hypertexted and prepared by OakTree Software, Inc.

Questions or Comments?

[email geoff] gkragen@aol.com