15: Often Painful, Always Good

15: Often Painful, Always Good

**To kick off our Daniel series, and in preparation for moving into our new home on October 18th, the elders have invited our church family to a 28-day season of prayer and fasting. These daily devotionals correspond with the 28-day Bible reading countdown to the day we celebrate our soft opening.**

Philippians 2

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” - Phil. 2:14-16

Paul is a straight shooter. I love that about him. Sorta. Want to shine like a star in the midst of a warped and crooked generation?Don’t grumble, argue or complain. Ever.

Do that, Church-Planter-Pastor-Apostle Paul says, and his laboring for our joy and progress in the faith was not in vain.

No pressure! But if we complain and grumble and argue, Paul wasted his time. Yikes! Sting a little?

"But I thought the Bible was supposed to make me feel BETTER!”

Yeah, but not your fleshly attitudes, actions and responses. They don’t get a pass. Wait! Don’t click away. Don’t change the channel. Stay with me…there’s hope.

Philippians is a letter with clear themes of Joy, Partnership/Fellowship, Gospel Advance, Exalting Christ, and Unity.

But to get there…we’ve got to die to selfishness and that always hurts. The road to Resurrection runs through the Cross.And it’s so easy to think - “Totally, I hope ____ is reading this.” Swing and a miss! We each need to own it. Say it with me… “This chapter is for ME.”

A major theme of Philippians chapter 2 is servanthood. Which is not exactly a friend of selfishness.Want to know a way you can check? In the words of our friend, Pastor Larry Osborne, “Everyone wants to be a servant until they’re treated like one.”  Zap!  How do you do when you’re treated like a servant? That’s a good test of your maturity in Christ.

Jesus Christ, in humility took the form of a servant and became obedient to the point of death, death on the Cross. For me. For you.

Where I fail, Christ succeeded.

And even now, His purpose is to work in us, in me, to be more like Him.And that’s often painful, but always good news.

May the Lord give you opportunities to serve and shine today, through your actions and attitudes. It’s a joy to run with you and work out our salvation together.

Keep digging in! Read! Fast! Pray!In Christ,Pastor Adam

P.S. - Bonus: For those who want a quick breakdown of the text, some bullet point thoughts and a few helpful reflection questions - Read on. :-)A quick outline of Philippians 2 -

  • Serve in Humility Like Christ - v. 1-11
  • Shine Like Stars by Keeping Your Actions and Attitudes in Check - v. 12-18
  • Two Honorable Examples (Timothy & Epaphroditus)- v. 19-30

Serve in Humility Like Christ: The power and mindset of humility (v. 1-11)
- Humility is the basis for unity. Let us walk in one heart and purpose, Grace City! 
- “There are very few conflicts between the humble and the humble.” - Pastor Mark Driscoll
- "Considering others above yourselves." How are you doing with that one?
- Humility and servanthood was the mindset of Jesus in relationships and our aim is to imitate Him.Question: How can you practically pursue growth in humility?

What opportunities do you have this week to serve others ahead of yourself? To humble yourself?

Shine Like Stars by Keeping Your Actions and Attitudes in Check (v. 12-18)
- Who’s responsibility is it? “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” - “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” 
- You take responsibility for staying the course, growing, working it out… and when you do, it was actually evidence of what God himself was doing in you and through you all along. 
- You embrace the responsibility and God gets the glory. Welcome to the Christian journey.
- Actions, Attitudes & Perspective are a big deal.
- Don’t grumble or complain. Attitude! That’s how you stand out. What’s the result of a godly attitude? You’ll shine like stars, blameless and pure. You’ll be life-giving to others.
- Paul’s Perspective… (v.17) “Even if I’m poured out…I rejoice...” … Perspective! Don’t forget, ultimately we’re doing this for Jesus.- Don’t lose your joy. Perspective! Attitude! Rejoice! Question: What growth or change is needed currently in your actions, attitudes or perspective? How’s your complaining/grumbling? How’s your joy?

Two Honorable Examples: Timothy & Epaphroditus (v. 19-30)

- Timothy & Epaphroditus - What do we learn about these dudes? 
- Genuine. Servants. Co-Workers. Brothers. Risking their lives for the gospel.- Become a Good, Godly Man or Woman.- Run With Good, Godly Men & Women (Christianity is a team sport! *Shameless City Group plug*).- Honor Good, Godly Men & Women. (Grace City is filled with honorable servants!)

Question: What’s your next step toward becoming more like Timothy or Epaphroditus?

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