Philippians 1 (BibleGateway.com - ESV) <--click me!
First post on my new blog. For those of you who don't know, I'm starting this blog to record my thoughts on what I'm looking at in my personal studies. If you have any questions or if I've said anything not according to what the Bible has to say, please contact me, and we can discuss/study it. Anyway, onward!
Over all my years reading through the first chapter of Philippians, I don't think I've ever gotten as much out of it as I did this last time. First, I'd like to point out that Paul is quite an amazing person. We can all learn from him no matter where we are in life. Toward the beginning of the chapter (v 3-11), he takes the time to let the Christians there know how much he loves and appreciates them. I feel like we can take a little tidbit from that. Our brothers and sisters in the church (no matter where in the world they are located) should be very important to us. After all, they should have the same mindset and goals as we do. Sometimes people get caught up in "Well, you see, our personalities just don't mesh, so I don't really want to go talk to them." I feel like we're all guilty of this. But we're missing the main point. Who cares if we don't like the same things outside of church? Who cares if they're a die-hard Tennessee fan, and you can't stand UT? (haha) They are still our brother and sister in Christ. We owe it to them to be cordial, pleasant, and thankful for them. I'm sure Paul didn't get along with everyone at Phillipi (maybe he did, but work with me), but I'm almost positive that he would still go up and speak to them in order to get to know his brethren a little bit better despite their differences.
Lastly, the latter half of the chapter is what amazes me the most. Paul says that his prison time was beneficial because the Gospel was being spread. People knew he was in there because of his teachings about Christ. Because of Paul's actions, other people were speaking out against the status quo of the age and preaching Christ to others. However, my favorite part of the entire chapter is verses 21-23. He says that the decision of staying in this world or leaving it is a hard one. For if he continues upon the earth, he will be able to continue to preach the Word, but if he dies, then he knows that he shall be with Christ. Either outcome is desirable to him, so he doesn't need to worry about what is going to happen. Now that is powerful. I definitely don't have that outlook - death is quite frightening! But Paul is right. If we've been living our lives according to the Bible and God's will, what do we have to fear? "For me to live is Christ, and to dies is gain" (verse 21).