Do you guys ever feel like you're in prison when you're in school?
Paul is suspected to be in prison when he wrote this, yet he was encouraging the Philippians to rejoice. And not only that but there were some quarrels going on in the church at Philippi.
In school and social media, we are told to be optimistic, to pursue our dreams, and to be content in living life the way we choose. Do what makes us happy. There might be some truth there, but have you ever noticed that rich people aren't satisfied in life either? And you can try following what the culture tells you, but in the end you will feel defeated and unsatisfied. Why is that? Paul is encouraging the church not to just be happy and optimistic, but rather he is encouraging them to go deeper. What might that be? Rejoicing in the Lord.
Paul mentions for us to let our reasonableness or gentleness be known to everyone. Why? The Lord is at hand. So we see again the reason that we can be reasonable or gentle is the Lord.
Do not be anxious. Pray and think about these things. The peace of God will guard are hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
Anxiety - a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome
Testimony of when the peace of God guarded my heart and mind.
Worried about an exam
Worried about what someone thought of me, touch on evangelism
Worried about my salvation
Paul is talking to the church how they cared for him in his situation but couldn't pull through. Yet Paul speaks of how he has learned to be content in any and every circumstance. What is the answer? Christ.
Paul talks about how the church had supported him. He testifies that God will provide all of their needs according to His riches in glory in Chrst Jesus.
This doesn't mean that He will provide everything that you want right? But that whatever God wills for you to do, He will provide the needs to accomplish what He has prepared for you.
The most common excuse I have for not doing my quiet time is that I'm busy doing school work and such. Do you see something wrong there? As a Christian, the reason why we live is Jesus. School work is for Jesus and yet we're avoiding spending our time with Jesus because we're too busy doing something for Jesus? That doesn't make sense. It's similar to the story of Mary and Martha. Mary was listening to Jesus at His feet and Martha was too busy. Why? She was anxious.
"But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:41-42
And I want to go a little deeper behind this excuse and give a clue as to why this happens. And I want challenge you (and myself), maybe your school work isn't really for Jesus to begin with. Maybe you are putting your hope in your grades.
Do you see how this causes anxiety? Because now by putting your hope in your grades, your success depends on you. If you mess up or make one small mistake, it's over.
This is something that I struggle with all the time. I always separate God from what I do in other parts of my life. Why? Because I'm putting my hope in a life apart from God. I'm trying to be successful by the world's standards.
But we need to remember that as Christians, we are repenting, realizing that we are headed in the wrong direction by placing our hope in ourselves, dishonoring God, when in light of the gospel, we should recognize our sin and turn to do everything for the glory and to the glory of God.
Whatever you do in your careers, may it be for God. This is something that I learned more when I went abroad...
So I want to challenge you to consider your career carefully. If you really have God's kingdom in mind, why not be a missionary? Don't think that we should go to college just because that's what everyone else does. Think deeper than that about your career and how you can use it for God's kingdom. We are Christians before we are students, not the other way around.
"Think about these things...practice these things"
How can we think about these things or practice these things when we don't spend time in God's Word learning these things?
When you think deeply about the gospel, the cares of this world will fade away
Another excuse I hear for not doing quiet time is because we just forgot. But is it really that simple?
Truck illustration by Paul Washer
We are again turning to something other than the peace of God
One thing you can do. Find someone to keep you accountable. Have someone, same gender, who you call once a day and say "hey how's everything with you? how's your time with God?" If we don't spend time in God's Word, then how can we expect God to work in our hearts? It's like being sick but then refusing to go to the doctor.
Excuse of being busy talking to other people
A common excuse not to do evangelism is also anxiety.
After hearing and believing the gospel, what is the expected first response? "We should tell other people about this."
In light of this, we want others come to experience that same peace of God. When you look at your friends, they may look like they're fine on the outside, but in the inside, they're broken. They're struggling with things that you may not be aware of. Only Christ can set them free. Only Christ can fix them and restore them. So show them the love of Christ in your actions and share the gospel to them. And be someone whom they know they can open up to. Be a safe place where they can truly share their concerns and burdens with you and not be scared of losing you. And pray for them when they share their struggles with you. This is a reflection of who Christ is to us. Reflect that back to them and know that the answer to all of their problems is Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
In light of this, do not be anxious anymore about your reputation. In Christ, you are a child of God and you are loved with an unfailing love by our Creator God. Pray for God to help you evangelize and find joy in sharing about Him.
Maybe some of you have failed to do these things. Don't be anxious. Our God loves us and has saved us. Find peace in God and let the peace of God compel you to do these things.