The letter to the Philippians is a great little New Testament book. It is useful in establishing a mature and informed joyful attitude even when going through difficult times. If you understand Paul’s perspective about life as a result of Christ’s resurrection and coming display of victory, you will be able to understand and follow the examples he gives.
FIRST – Confidence! The problems for the church are that the one who lead them to faith is in danger of being killed as a criminal, some Christians are making things worse instead of better, and even in the church some people are arguing. It looks like all the things they first believed in were for nothing. That is not true.
“He who began a good work in y’all will bring it to TELOS (maturity/completion) at the day of Jesus Christ.” (1:6)
Without yet explaining how, Paul just lets them know: he believes that their faith is still on course in spite of problems. For those of you in our church who have shown faith in the things you have said and done from your heart… have the same confidence!
SECOND – Clarity! What does TELOS faith look like? Wise love; that is what Paul prays will show up from their faith (1:9-11):
Your love growing and showing in leaps and bounds is the point!
How? With increasing ability to know and choose the best in situations.
Why? So that you won’t be mixed up, you will be pure, consistent.
Consistently what? Righteous, not wrongeous!! You know, blameless.
How? Through Christ (his word, his Spirit) for God’s glory.
THIRD – Courage! If Paul is confident that your faith will actually make it from where it starts all the way to wise love that is right on and glorifies God, what will it look like as you get there? A scary struggle met with bravery.
It has been granted to you for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict. (1:29-30)
You are not called to be someone who just avoids naughtiness. You are called to be someone who can deliver righteousness. Being ‘naughty’ is most disappointing not for its direct damage, but more so for its failure to be reliable in regard to the cause. The cause is the Creator, and we who are created in his image to be creative. It is overcoming the rebellion that lets the non-creative (creation) try to rule over the creative. Sinning is not creative, it is destructive. Uptight religious is not creative either. Righteousness, that is creative, strong and beautiful!
Joyfully be: CONFIDENT / CLEAR / COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE