I love the book of Philippians. Christ. In. A. Man. In his book, Paul certainly illustrates what living the Galatians 2:20 life looks like. It is a life of purpose: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (1:21). It is a life of pleasure: Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind (2:2). It is a life of passion: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (3:14). It is a life of power: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (4:13). Philippians is a loaded book filled with challenge, encouragement, instruction, and even rebuke. It contains my life verse (1:21). It has my favorite prayer verse (4:6-7). I really mean it when I say that I love the book of Philippians.
Chapter 4 contains 10 challenges that would make great goals for a new year. Here they are:
- Keep standing in the Lord (4:1).
Be steady, constant, in your walk with God. Whatever comes your way – keep standing. Regardless of what others do – keep standing. Remember that your God is Almighty and is “able even to subdue all things unto himself” (3:21).
- Keep growing (4:2-3)
Remember Euodias and Syntyche? Two ladies who had once labored with Paul in the gospel, who now were acting like spoiled children. They literally were making a fool of themselves. They should have known better than to allow something to come between them. They should have been big enough and strong enough to know how to drop it and forget it. Instead, they allowed it to make so much of itself, that they had to be rebuked by the Holy Spirit Himself! The lesson for me is that I need to keep growing. When I am childish in my responses and my feelings are easily hurt, I need to do some growing. That would be a good goal for any of us, wouldn’t it. I know it is for me!
- Keep rejoicing (4:4)
Be full of joy. Have a right spirit. No matter what, rejoice!
- Keep praying (4:6-7)
Have a thankful heart and as often as possible express that thankfulness in prayer as you bring your requests to God. You don’t have to be filled with care and you don’t have to worry and fret and be bothered. God is able to meet your need and to fill you with his peace in the process. So keep praying!
- Keep thinking (4:8)
This is a big one. How we think affects us in so many ways. So Paul says to think on things that are true and honest and just and pure and lovely and of a good report. Some things are true, but aren’t just and pure and lovely. So we are to be wise in these areas. We are to dwell on things that have virtue and a good report. Paul commands us to allow the word of Christ to dwell in us richly in all wisdom (Col. 3:16). David challenges us to hide God’s word in our hearts that we might not sin against God (Psalm 119:11) and Psalm 1 reminds just that our way is prospered by our meditation on the truth and the beauty of God’s Word. Keep thinking!
- Keep serving (4:9)
Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to continue to do the things they had heard and received and learned and even seen him doing. What a reminder to walk in love and to have a sweet and humble and gentle spirit and to give our lives for the gospel. What a reminder to be faithful to gather with God’s people and to grow spiritually. What a reminder to be soul-winners and prayer warriors and so forth. Keep serving.
- Keep caring (4:10)
Paul commends the church for the care they had shown to him as he served the Lord. You and I can do that. We can care about others and meet their needs so they can serve the Lord!
- Keep learning (4:11)
In the context of this verse, Paul is taking about contentment. That could be a worthy goal all by itself, couldn’t it? “I have learned to be content no matter what.” I know how to be abased and how to abound. I know how to be full and to be hungry. I know how to be without and how to overflow with abundance. And in all of them, I am content. Wow! That is a worthy goal indeed.
- Keep depending (4:13)
Through Christ, I can! I can be a soul-winner. I can have victory over sin. I can grow spiritually. I can overcome my past and my present. I can win. It’s not my strength, but my depending on his strength that will enable me to do so. May God help me to rest in His power and strength in this year ahead.
- Keep giving (4:14-19)
Paul closes the chapter with some comments about the way the church at Philippi had met his needs. Because they did, the gospel was taken to other places and people were saved and were growing in Christ. All of us should give generously and cheerfully, and if we do, Paul says that God will supply all of our needs as a result of our giving. Somehow our giving catches the attention of our God and results in His favor and blessing to be granted to us. I want that in this new year, so I am going to keep giving. I hope you will too.
What is the result of attaining to these goals? “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (4:20) Our God is glorified when we live a life that looks like this.
Want to join me in these 10 goals for this new year? I hope so. Let’s get started!
Thanks for reading.
Your sincere friend,