When reading the next section, Philippians 2:12-18, verse 14 always stands out to me. Do everything without complaining or arguing. That verse by itself flies in the face of everything that we do in our culture today. We complain about things not being fast enough. We complain about how were treated. We complain about things we don’t have. We complain about relationships. We complain about the weather. We complain about anything and everything we can think of. Yet this is not how God desires for us to spend our time. Everything we do should be done in a spirit and an attitude of Thanksgiving recognizing that the sacrifices that we make, the hard times we go through, are there for a purpose and that if we are following and obeying Christ, he will be glorified through them so there’s no reason to complain about them in the first place. What does our attitude look like today? Do we go through life finding fault and everything and everyone will we come into contact with? Can we live out this verse today? Can we commit to living out this verse for the next 5 minutes? That’s where this starts.
As we went through Philippines 2:5-11, we get a glimpse into who Jesus Christ truly is. The enormity of the sacrifice that he made coming to Earth to live amongst us becomes very apparent when we see him full of Glory, high and lifted up, exalted above all others. Jesus Christ has the name that is above every other name and yet he chose to humble himself, come to Earth, and be the sacrifice to restore the relationship between us and God.
The very first verse, verse 5, tells us that we are to have the same mindset as Jesus. If that’s the case, then no matter our position, we are to be willing to do whatever we can to bring people to a right relationship with God. Are we seeking to find those people who need Jesus Christ? If we are to be like Christ, that is to be our only goal and Mission outside of glorifying God.
Philippines 2:1-4 is such an interesting set of verses. In it, we see how God moves people to unity and how unity leads to humility. When we think we’re better than others, then we won’t be unified with them. If we think others are better than us, then we won’t feel worthy to be unified with them. If we will see each and every one of us as equal through the blood of Jesus, then our unity of purpose and unity of focus becomes nothing less than the will of God in our lives. We have no issues with humility because we desire for Christ to be made much of, not ourselves or others. Are we being unified together to display the humility of Christ?
“To live is Christ and to die is gain.” This great statement made by Paul in Philippines 1:21 is the start of a section through the end of the chapter that shows Paul’s great dilemma. He desires to be with God in heaven, but he also knows the importance his witness and testimony is to those still living. While he is still living, he wants to hear of the faithfulness of the people he has led to Christ.
Who have we influenced? Do we provide encouragement to other by how we serve God? Do we seek that kind of encouragement from others? Do we really understand that while we are still here the focus is to be Christ in every area of our lives. When we die, we see Jesus so there is great gain. How does this impact our lives today?
Reading through Philippines 1:12-20, we find a man in prison who is thankful and grateful for his circumstances. Looking at this passage, it can be hard for those of us who have gone through tough times to really understand that while Paul is in prison, he is still glorifying God and seeing the big picture in terms of how the gospel is spreading. Paul recognizes that his circumstances are a direct cause of people coming to saving faith in Christ.
When we look at our circumstances, do we see them in light of people coming to Christ? We are only to live to see Christ high and lifted up and whatever situation will bring that about is the one that we should desire. I pray that God will use my every situation to bring glory to Himself and to spread the word about Him.
We’re going to be spending the next several days going through Philippians. Taking a look at the first few verses in Philippians chapter 1, down through verse 11, we see Paul writing a letter to the believers at the church in Phillipi. He is sharing with them that he knows that they are not perfect yet, but that he also knows that God is working in them and through them. God has a desire and a goal for the people and Paul reminds them that is to make them into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
As we look at our own lives, we must recognize that God has the same desire for us, too. God desires to work in us and through us to bring us to perfection in Him. He knows the steps that it will take for us to become more like Him, and He works with us patiently, seeking each and every opportunity to mold us into His righteousness. Are we willing to be molded? Are we willing to seek His righteousness and His perfection in all that we do. God is constantly moving in us, are we willing to allow Him to change us so that we are a better reflection of Him? Our desire should be to bring His glory and make it visible to all. Does our life display God’s glory today?
In Ruth 4:13-22 we see the conclusion of the story and the restoration of Hope. Boaz marties Ruth in order to redeem her and redeem the family. Then Ruth and Boaz have a child. This child becomes the hope not of Ruth, but of Naomi. We see all the women gathering together saying hope has come again to Naomi. Naomi again rejoices. She sees in living form how God has provided a way for her to continue to have a place. God has not forgotten her.
When we are facing difficult times, when we feel that there is no hope, when we struggle to see God’s hand in anything, he’s still there. God’s presence and God’s movement happens regardless of our feelings. God didn’t stop moving, just because Naomi didn’t feel it anymore. God didn’t stop moving just because Naomi lost hope. God continue to move and God continue to work and ultimately, God received the glory through Naomi and what she had done.
Hope is a choice. We can choose to look at our circumstances or we can choose to look at God. One leads us to hopelessness and the other leads us to unending hope. Even when we don’t see the solution we can still hope in God, knowing the truth of who He is and the promises that He has given us. Will we choose to hope today?
In the first part of Ruth chapter 4, we see a man on a mission. Boaz has been challenged. Ruth had come to him and it asked him to take up his position as kinsman redeemer for her and her family. Now, Boaz has some work to do. He wastes no time and he goes and finds the people that he needs to make this happen. As we read the first 12 verses of this chapter, we see that Boaz recognizes the correct way to go about meeting this need. He finds the right people, he gets everyone together, he states the problem, and he offers solutions.
When we see the path that God has for us to take there is no other recourse then obedience. Not just any old obedience either. This requires immediate obedience on our part. Are we truly coming before God getting our marching orders and turning immediately to go do what he’s told us to do? He will provide the way, he will provide the solutions, we have to provide the obedience. Are we being obedient today?
In Ruth chapter 3, hope turns to action. Now that Naomi has seen a glimmer of hope it starts to fan into flame in her heart. She has a plan. She takes Ruth and she gives Ruth a very specific plan of action telling her exactly what she needs to do and exactly how to do it. Ruth, trusting her mother-in-law, possibly even seeing a hint of the woman she used to know when she first married her son, has no hesitation at all. Ruth goes, she find Boaz exactly as Naomi said she would, she does exactly what Naomi tells her to do, and Boaz responds in kindness.
As we start to see and understand the hope that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ, we can have confidence in our actions. God has given us a plan for our lives. God has a purpose for us. If we will start taking action and doing the things that God has is doing, we will see and find our hope in him rewarded as things start to fall in place exactly as God has laid them out. Are we trusting in our hope? Are we allowing our hope in God to transform us into people of action so that we can follow up on the hope that God has given us?
Finally, in Ruth chapter 2 starting in verse 14 we begin to see the glimmer of a hope again for Naomi. Ruth is still out gleaning grain in the field and all of a sudden things just start seeming to fall into place. She starts to notice there’s a lot of grain left out here for her. There’s a lot of help that she’s receiving. She gets fed. Things just seem to be working out. She goes home and tells Naomi all about her day including everyone that she’s met. I can almost imagine Naomi’s face when she hears the name of the individual who took notice of Ruth. Boaz. She recognizes that what her daughter-in-law brought back in was more than what she could have done all on her own. And when she hears the name of Boaz, she has hope. She knows that this is a close relative and now she even tells Ruth about this close relative and what that means.
Sometimes when we feel hopeless, it’s the small things, the seemingly inconsequential things, that start as having hope again. The coincidences that we can’t explain why any other way other than the fact that God must have taken notice of us and our situation start to have more meaning to us. We get reminded that God sees us and knows us and remembers us. Naomi never would have gotten there on her own without her daughter-in-law Ruth who was there to live out the promise to Naomi. When we feel hopeless, God will always find a way to show himself to us through things that go on around us, circumstantial things that we truly can’t explain it any other way. The question is, are we looking for them and do you recognize them as acts of God when we see them. What are we looking for in our day? Are we seeing the hand of God moving even in small ways each and every day? He is where our hope comes from.