Pastor of Student Ministries at Grace Church on the Mount
There are those that might say that Paul was one of the greatest Christians to ever walk the face of the earth. He wrote most of the New Testament, planted many churches throughout Asia Minor, and went on three missionary journeys. He spent time in prison, was beaten, and was ship wrecked, all for the cause of Christ.
In the book of Philippians, Paul is writing to a church from prison. It is the only letter that he wrote that did not contain a reprimand. In fact, Paul mentioned the word “joy” over 13 times. It is hard to understand utilizing the word “joy” from prison. In Philippians 1: 12, 19-21, Paul says, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel . . . For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
How did Paul live like this? In Chapters 1-4 he tells us. In Chapter 1, we see Paul living with such great purpose. Paul understood that we can either surrender to our circumstances, or we can surrender to a cause so great, that our circumstances do not matter. I want to live like THAT.
In Chapter 2, Paul speaks of the most humble man that ever walked the face of the earth. Starting in verse 5 he says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Paul understood that without humility, we cannot truly represent Christ. I want to live like THAT.
In Chapter 3: 2-, Paul teaches us the true nature of salvation. It is here where Paul says some very difficult things as their loving Pastor.
Paul states what we do matters not; it’s really all about who we know . . . Jesus. I want to live like THAT.
And, finally, in Chapter 4: 11-13, Paul shows us the true currency of life, contentment. “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
How can Paul be so content? Clearly, it’s in Christ. Paul learned contentment can make the poorest people rich and discontentment can make the richest people poor. I want to live like THAT.
Paul was a man of purpose, humility, salvation, and contentment. How does a man live like that? In Christ alone.