Today we continue our theme of trust as we look at the book of Philippians. Trust, our trust in God, will expand our horizons beyond ourselves and will help us look outward.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 1:1-4 NIV)
Being like-minded - what does Paul mean? I think he is referring back to what he has been talking about in chapter one which was finding the power and security of knowing that we are "in Christ" - a recurring theme throughout all of Paul's letters. We are in Christ and therefore our home is where he is (John 14:3). We are encouraged to imitate Paul and make our home in Christ. We are drawn into that intimacy through the comfort of his love and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
When the focus of our love is on him we will be drawn into a greater intimacy with the Trinity. Not only do we become secure in our relationship with Him but we are secure enough to begin to turn outward. We can trust God enough to start considering others. We have the mind of Christ which is not selfish but takes the path of humility. We stop prioritising our own needs because we know and trust that our Father will take care of them for us.
As sons and daughters, we know that we have a Father who cares for us and who provides all we need (Matthew 6:25-34). Walking as Jesus walked, trusting the Father's goodness, will cause us to channel that goodness to a world that is in desperate need. The outworking of us being loved is that we love and care for others.
The book of Philippians is about trust. Do we trust the Father enough to allow ourselves to come to a place of rest where we can rely on the peace that passes all understanding? Do we trust enough to believe that he will work his purpose out for us, rather than us having to try and make it happen?
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalms 138:8 ESV)
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)
At the end of Philippians, Paul talks about being content (and we'll look at that in a few weeks time). That contentment can only flow from us receiving and living in the assurance of these promises. He has started something in our lives and he will make it happen. His purpose is not so much the journey we might take but it is the end result, it is the destination. Proverbs tells us that we make plans but God has a purpose that will stand forever (Prov 19:21).
Sometimes our journey is not linear. We make mistakes, we take diversions, we wonder where we are going and what is happening. The twists and turns of life's journey can sometimes be confusing and maybe we begin to doubt. We doubt ourselves, we doubt God.
He is not bothered about our diversions because his purpose is bigger and goes beyond our plans. His purpose for us is rooted in eternity and he has promised to accomplish it. That's where trust comes in - can we trust him enough to lay aside our plans and allow him to lead us? He will complete what he has started. That's my prayer today.
Truth: Hard to find and sometimes even harder to define. Yet Jesus makes it much more simple than we have made it.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7 ESV)
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 ESV)
We are bombarded with opinions: social media, news broadcasts, what other people think and all presented as being the 'gospel truth', yet deep down we know are being sold a lie. How do we shift through all of this to discover the truth. Our definition of truth is skewed because it's influenced by a series of filters we create, the desire to please other people, our belief or bahviour patterns our struggle with an orphan world. Jesus strips all that away; he is the Truth. Truth is not so much found in a collection of facts but in a person.
The desire of Jesus is that we would be with him where he is, he has taken us into himself and therefore we are with him where he is: the bosom of the Father. That is the place where discover Truth and it sets us free. The truth we discover is that we are brought into the same relationship with the Father that Jesus has. We are sons. We have a place in the family forever. We are not slaves. We belong.
This very well knnown verse in John 14 is simple , yet profound. We are shown that the way to the Father is through Jesus. As we start that journey, heading towards this amazing destination, we find the truth of who we are and then we find the life that our hearts long for. Jesus is the Life. The Life of the Father, the life of the Trinity is made available to us through Jesus. It is life to the full, abundant life.
Every now and then it's good to remind ourselves of the main thing. The substance of love which is being poured into our heart through and by the Holy Spirit. Not only do we need reminding, we also need to give ourselves the opportunity to receive.
And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us! (Romans 5:5 TPT)
Jeremiah tells us we are loved with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3). All of the love that was in the Father's heart before the creation of the world, all of the love that runs through time and all of the love that will run through eternity future is being poured into our heart by the Holy Spirit. That's a lot of love. It's very reassuring for us as this means there has never been a time when we've not been loved nor is there anything we can do (or not do) that will take us outside the love of God.
Sometimes we doubt God's love. Sometimes we feel condemned and unworthy of love. Other times we feel that our sin stops the flow of love until we prove ourselves through our works. All of those feelings are real to us and they affect what we think or believe. They don't, however, determine what God thinks or feels. He does not change; he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our behaviour may not be in accordance with his will but it does not change the fact that we are loved.
Most translations say the love of God is 'poured' into our heart. I like the Passion Translation's use of the word 'cascade'. It describes a generous and constantly flowing torrent of love. It's similar to John who writes 'see what kind of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God' (1 John 3:1).
Let's make the main thing the main thing. Why not enjoy being loved today! Let the Father lavish or cascade his love into your heart.
A Father to YOU is a signpost to the heart of the Perfect Father. When we became Christians we were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Sadly, many of us fail to take up that right and instead continue to live as slaves or orphans. But our true destiny is being sons and daughters who have a permanent place in the Father's family. This blog is an encouragement to help you know who God really is and who you really are.