Following the Will of God even when it hurts
Over the next little while I am going to spend some time looking at the amazing book of Philippians. But before I dive in I wanted to find out a bit about what is behind the book, to get the back story, to set the scene for my learning.
I discovered that Philippians was written by Paul to the people of Philippi, a city in eastern city Macedonia. Paul travelled to the city in 49 or 50 AD, on his second missionary journey. With him on the journey were Silas, Timotheus, and Luke. And he made the big journey as God told him to. As it says in Acts 16:9-10
During the night, Paul had a vision of someone from Macedonia who was standing there and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” After Paul had seen the vision, we began looking for a way to go to Macedonia. We were sure that God had called us to preach the good news there.
And in visiting Philippi Paul took the gospel outside of Asia Minor for the first time and into Europe, beginning the worldwide spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ!
And the very first convert in Europe is Lydia, a pagan cloth seller. After giving her life to Christ and along with her family being baptised, Paul started a church with Lydia in her home. As it records in Acts 16: 11-15
We sailed straight from Troas to Samothrace, and the next day we arrived in Neapolis. From there we went to Philippi, which is a Roman colony in the first district of Macedonia.We spent several days in Philippi. Then on the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to a place by the river, where we thought there would be a Jewish meeting place for prayer. We sat down and talked with the women who came. One of them was Lydia, who was from the city of Thyatira and sold expensive purple cloth. She was a worshiper of the Lord God, and he made her willing to accept what Paul was saying. Then after she and her family were baptized, she kept on begging us, “If you think I really do have faith in the Lord, come stay in my home.” Finally, we accepted her invitation.
And Paul wrote the letter to the church in Philippi to encourage them in their faith, to inspire them into complete dedication to the will of Christ, in spite of any pain or suffering they might experience.
And after church yesterday I found myself yet again thinking about the point of church and getting bothered by the lack of people who go to church. In reading about Paul and his ministry in Philippi I realise something: Paul shared the Gospel and then started a church and in doing this he displays the deep connection between sharing the Good News and being the church. As I think through this I can see that trying to run a church without actively sharing the Gospel within the surrounding community is like trying to run a car without petrol: eventually you will run out of steam and stop.
In my experience of church the focus is on running services and caring for those already in the church, but actually I can see the need to also be focused on the surrounding community, on sharing the love of Jesus. What is your church like in this? Do they encourage evangelism? How do they do that? Feel free to leave a comment below.
But it is about balance! Paul is also interested in the church members in Philippi which is why he wrote the letter. And it is his motivation for writing it that really hit home for me.
He wrote the letter to inspire them into complete dedication to the will of Christ, in spite of any pain or suffering they might feel. And this is something I am really struggling with myself right now, to accept the will of Christ particularly as accepting Christ’s will is causing me great pain. Paul knows that one of the biggest issues facing Christians is to accept the will of Christ in all matters. I want to follow my will, my desire, but this is plain wrong. I must submit myself to the will of Christ, and push through the pain.
I praise God for my journey into His Word and His will!
If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free: click here.
I would love to hear from you! Click on the ‘comment’ below and scroll down.
Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan
The Portion for the today is: Exodus 13-16
To access the complete plan for the year click here.