Prized Verses in Philippians

Prized Bible Verse in PhilippiansThe last post looked at practical issues in the Book of Philippians.

Perhaps the reason the Book of Philippians contains some of the most treasured and quoted Bible verses is because of how practical that book is for our daily lives and the church.

Prized Verses for Reflection and Memorization in the Book of Philippians

You might already have some of the following verses memorized. Let me encourage you to take some time to reflect on how these verses can help you today with whatever issues you might be facing. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) You may even want to work at memorizing those verses which are especially meaningful to you.

1:3 – I thank my God every time I remember you.

1:6 – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

2:3-4 – 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.

2:9-11 – Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

3:8-9 – What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

3:10-11 – 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.

3:12 – Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

3:13-14 – Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

3:20 – But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ

4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

4:6-7 – 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.

4:8 – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

4:12 – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

4:13 – I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Other familiar verses from Philippians could be added to the list but the list was getting quite long with those included. Imagine if we regularly applied these verses to our lives! We can when we remember Philippians 4:13. — I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

God Gets Practical

Self-help books and seminars may have a place but so often take a humanistic path void of divine intervention. The Christian life, however, centers around what God does for us, not what we do for ourselves. — “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)

God already provided The Book, His Word, that contains practical solutions for issues we still experience today along with the power we need to apply these truths to our lives. While “all Scripture” is intended to be “useful” (2 Tim. 3:16-17), we’re going to zero in on just one small book in the Bible to demonstrate how practical God gets — the Book of Philippians.

Practical Issues in the Book of Philippians

Outline the Book of Philippians and in just four chapters you will find the following practical issues we face in our daily lives as individuals and as a church today:

  • becoming more other-centered (1:1-11)
  • learning to better cope and deal with circumstances (1:12-26)
  • maintaining unity (1:27-2:11)
  • living a life of obedience to God (2:12-18)
  • serving wholeheartedly (2:19-30)
  • setting priorities (3:1-14)
  • getting an attitude adjustment (3:15-4:1)
  • experiencing peace (4:1-9)
  • being content (4:10-19)
  • praising God & embracing one another (4:20-23)

Imagine the difference in our lives if we took the help He offers to deal with these issues!

Practical Issues in the Book of PhilippiansIf you haven’t read through Philippians lately, perhaps this is a good time to do so. Maybe you would find it useful to study it with a small group. You can order the Practical Issues in the Book of Philippians Discussion Guides which follows the above outline. You are permitted to copy the guides which contain questions to discuss.

Giving God Your Best Is . . .

Give God Your BestGod exhorts us to do all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) and to work at whatever we do with all our heart (Col. 3:23). And, we are to “do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17). 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved …” We read of our need to test our own actions (Gal. 6:4) and to “run in such a way as to get the prize … not like someone running aimlessly” (1 Cor. 9:24-27). Certainly verses like these suggest that we give God our best.

Before continuing on, please be sure to read the previous post for some clarification of what it does not mean to do or give our best to God. What follows must be read with an understanding that this is not about gaining merit or applause but rather honoring God and doing whatever we do through His grace, power, and strength, not self-effort.

What it Means to Give God Your Best

1) Your best involves giving God your total being.

Jesus quoted the greatest commandment as loving the Lord “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). The whole of who we are is the best we can give Him which is why this site refers to our best fit in ministry as that which involves all of who we are. To give God only a part of ourselves falls short of loving Him with “all” of who we are. To present ourselves to “as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” as commanded in Romans 12:1, is only reasonable in light of what God has done for us.

2) Your best involves giving God your first of everything.

Throughout the Old Testament we read of the Israelites giving God the first fruits and the best of the flock. We serve the same God, still worthy of the first and best of our time, efforts, and resources. To give Him leftover or misdirected time and energy isn’t giving Him the best He deserves.

3) Your best involves giving God your most superior work.

To give God a half-hearted or sloppy effort falls short of doing whatever we do “for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). How can we be “a workman who does not need to be ashamed” if we inaccurately represent Him (2 Tim. 2:15) because we didn’t take the time required to get it right?

In light of these three points, we must conclude that to give God our best, we can’t compartmentalize our lives — God time, me time, work time, family time. All of our lives, at all times and in every way, must be seen as God time. Wherever we are and in whatever we do, we do it all to the glory of God!

Giving God Your Best Isn’t …

Give God Your Best

Before looking at what it means to give God our best, we would do well to first consider what it does not mean. We want to make sure we’re coming at this biblically, not from a worldly, humanistic perspective.

What It Does Not Mean to Give God Your Best

1) Doing or giving our best is not to gain merit with God, for salvation or otherwise.

Scripture makes it clear that all our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). We all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). We are saved by grace through faith, not by our good works (Eph. 2:8-9). We live our lives in Him just as we received Him — by grace through faith (Col. 2:6).

2) Doing or giving our best is not about getting applause for a job well done.

Our objective should be to honor God, to in every way “make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10). We should do that whether or not we receive recognition. — “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters …” (Col. 3:23)

3) Doing or giving our best is not about self-effort.

Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). No matter how excellent we perform on our own, apart from His power at work in us, we will come short. As a branch draws its sustenance from the vine, so we must abide in Christ to bear eternal fruit. Remember verses like Philippians 4:13. — “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” We must “strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works” in us (Col. 1:29). We are at our best when we put all of who we are into all of who He is and watch Him work through us.

We’ve considered what giving God our best does not mean. In the next post we’ll look at what it does mean.

Wait for the Lord

Wait for the Lord

Whether it’s a new year or any other event in our lives, we would do well to learn from the Israelites who “did not wait for His plan to unfold” (Ps. 106:13). Though God extended His kindness toward the Israelites in Egypt, they still rebelled. “Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.” (Ps. 106:8) He rescued them from their adversary by parting the sea. “Then they believed his promises and sang his praise.” (Ps. 106:12)

You would think such a miraculous delivery would seal their trust in God’s intent to do good for them and His ability to bring it about. “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” (Ps. 106:13) They repeatedly put God to the test. Read the remainder of Psalm 106 to see how that led to much needless trouble.

Why We Don’t Wait for the Lord

Who likes the wilderness experience? Who doesn’t want the good without experiencing pain or hardship? Yet, like the Israelites of old, God sometimes takes us on an indirect route to get to His place of blessing. If, like the Israelites, we focus on our circumstances rather than on our God, we too will experience needless trouble along the way.

Psalm 106:13 cues us in on why they didn’t wait on the Lord — “they soon forgot what he had done …” As a result, their impatience with the process led them to take matters into their own hands and to turn to sources other than God for help and hope.

Why We Should Wait for the Lord

The Israelites had every reason to wait for the Lord. He had already proven Himself faithful. He had already demonstrated His power. God already had shown Himself greater than their circumstances.

For us today, let’s think about what God has already done for us in sending Jesus.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Rom. 5:8-10)

God has already demonstrated how much He loves us. God has already proven His desire and ability to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Certainly we should believe “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). The more we understand the character of our faithful, powerful, and loving God, the more we will realize that we have every reason to “wait for His plan to unfold” in our lives.

What’s at the Root?

Ministry doesn’t always go as expected. Parenting doesn’t always produce the results you hoped for. Relationships don’t always go smoothly.

Rather than giving up or despairing, see if you can get to the root of what went wrong. Sometimes we merely deal in symptoms rather than the real issue. Then we wonder why lasting change doesn’t come. We may be applying the wrong solutions because we are staying on the surface. Take time to ask, “What’s at the Root?”

Ask What's at the Root of Problems

Examples of Getting to the Root Issue

These examples will not cover everything you might face. And, the root cause in these various situations could be different in your case.

  • A ministry event or class didn’t go well.

Surface: It was a bad idea so I won’t do that again.
Root: Perhaps you didn’t invest sufficient time into planning and/or praying.
Solution: Learn to set priorities, to better manage your time, and be prepared. Always pray.
Resource: Time Management for Teachers Worksheet

  • People are getting disillusioned with serving in the Church.

Surface: They don’t love the Lord as they should so we’ll teach/preach more to build their faith and love.
Root: Maybe people aren’t doing what lines up with their spiritual gifting, passions, and personality.
Solution: Help people find their best fit in ministry.
Resource: Finding Your Best Fit in Ministry Book

  • Children don’t sit still and pay attention to the Bible lesson.

Surface: Kids are so disrespectful today so I will have to discipline them more.
Root: Possibly you aren’t teaching in accordance with their age level developmental need for activity.
Solution: Use more hands-on Bible learning activities.
Resource: Age Level Teacher Training Resources

  • God doesn’t seem to be answering your prayers.

Surface: God doesn’t care so it doesn’t matter if I pray.
Root: Maybe you aren’t praying in keeping with God’s character or will.
Solution: Learn more about God and His Word.
Article: Power in Prayer as We Adhere to Biblical Principles on Praying

  • Some people in your church who claim to be Christians aren’t safe to around.

Surface: They don’t belong here so we’ll be more protective until they leave.
Root: Perhaps people haven’t been discipled as they should.
Solution: Follow the Great Commission to its fullest extent which takes people beyond getting saved to spiritually growing and obeying Him as Lord of their lives.
Article: Safety Because of the Great Commission

  • People are so busy and it’s affecting recruitment and the fulfillment of Body Life as God designed it.

Surface: People aren’t putting God first so we’ll teach/preach more about prioritizing God and His will.
Root: Possibly they don’t have good role models of how to live in ways that prioritize what’s most important.
Solution: Begin with yourself and your church to control your schedule so it is more purposeful and considerate.
Articles: Purposeful Scheduling  and  Considerate Scheduling

Your child keeps falling back into the same bad behavior even though you keep disciplining.

Surface: I’m not being hard enough on him/her so I’ll enforce stricter consequences.
Root: Maybe the child is harboring resentment, hurts, or anger.
Solution: Focus on the heart, not just the behavior.
Resource: Parenting is Heart Work Training Manual with 8 Audio Sessions (Clicking on this link will take you to one of our affiliate stores.)

Whatever the circumstance, ask God to get you beyond the surface to the root cause. Continue to pray about it to determine the best course of action based on the real issue. Look for resources that can help you learn and grow in this area.