This fall, we’re studying Philippians and examining how we are to imitate Christ in a counterfeit world. For an index of all posts, go here.
I returned to work last week after 10 weeks of maternity leave, and I was anxious about falling back into the same graceless pattern of interacting with employees I had fostered before. But God, in His rich mercy, sent me back into the workplace with this message: Let them see Jesus in you. That message arose in conversations with friends, sermons from the pulpit, and my Scripture reading. (Has that ever happened to you–when the same message smacks you in the face wherever you go?)
And as I turned to Philippians 3 asking God how to show Jesus to others, God showed me a blueprint for how to do just that:
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
I need to keep repeating this to myself again and again (about as many times as Paul repeats it in the letter) to actually remember to live it. I need to rejoice when my boss tells me that I’m going to do 30% more work for the same pay. I need to rejoice when I’m running late and I have no clue what I’m going to cook for dinner. I need to rejoice when my little one spits up on my favorite blouse.
The world would tell me that I have every right to be mad, that I should vent, or that anyone in my situation would complain. But God calls me to imitate Christ in those moments by living joyfully. I can rejoice because God is still on His throne and the world does not revolve around me–it revolves around the One who loves me and gave His life for me. And no matter what’s going on in my life, my Daddy holds me in His arms, spinning me in circles, rejoicing over me in love. Plus, it helps when I change my perspective: I still have a job, I have an understanding husband, and I have several outfits to choose from. There’s lots of reasons to rejoice!
Live in Christ.
I consider [accomplishments] garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him. […] I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
I need to learn to identify my life in Christ. My value isn’t tied to how many chapters of the Bible I read or how much money I bring home. It doesn’t really matter what my graduating GPA was in college or how big my office is at work (regardless of what the media would have me think). God doesn’t even look at how many blog subscribers I have. My life is hidden with Christ in God. All these other things are a loss compared to the immeasurable greatness of knowing Christ and fellowshipping with Him in His sufferings.
Live for heaven.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I can get caught up in the temporal details of the daily grind, but I need to remember that I was made for so much more–my citizenship is in heaven, and that’s the end goal I need to live toward today. My family, my work, my blog, my ministry all need to be aimed toward an eternity if I want Jesus to be evident in them all.
Lest you think I’ve got this all down pat, know that I kind of blew it today, and God used my husband to gently remind me of these truths all over again. It’s so easy to forget these truths when things don’t work the way we want them to. But (remember?) He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Week 1 memory verse). And He uses husbands and preachers, radio stations and bosses to shape our lives into the life of Christ.
So my prayer for you is that every life you touch this week would see Jesus in you as you seek to imitate Him in your living.
This week, we finish the book of Philippians. As you read the last chapter, ask the Holy Spirit to use it bring you to Himself
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What did you learn in Philippians 4 this last week? I would love to hear from you. Please comment below (and feel free to respond to each others’ comments as well)!