Philippians 1 (Devotional Thought)

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Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:1-2 ESV)

Sometimes it can be easy to pass over words like these that are an introduction to a book of the Bible. We don’t think that they can make sense for our lives and so we hurry over the words or we skip down to something more interesting. Today though I want to challenge you to think a little deeper. What do you know about the Apostle Paul? Write down everything you know. No worries, I’ve got time. (If you are unfamiliar with Paul, you can read his back story over in Acts 8-9 where he went by the name of Saul).

Ok. Lets compare notes: Paul used to persecute Christians! He went around from town to town locking Christians in jail and in some cases even approving of their murder (Acts 8:1)! Then through a dramatic encounter with Jesus, on the Road to Damascus, Paul’s life was changed. He went from being a guy who went from town to town persecuting Christians to a guy who now went from town to town telling people about Jesus! He was even thrown in jail, tortured and beaten for telling others about Jesus! God had radically changed Paul’s life.

Paul is the human author that God used to write the book of Philippians. That’s important because God uses the most unlikely characters to do great things in his name. Next question: Who do you think the book of Philippians written too? Go ahead write down your answer. I got time. When you’re done click the more tag.

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For She is a Sinner (Lk. 7:39)

Sinner.  The word sounds so distant when I use it to refer to someone else. Yet, when I turn my gaze inward and let the word be applied to me, it no longer seems so harmless.   Now it reminds me of my condition before a Holy and Righteous God.  Then and only then do I realize that I have come up short.

You see it’s easy to compare my sin to the sins of others.  But the life of a follower isn’t tied up in coming in ahead of someone else, it’s tied up in following. Yet how often do we default to comparing ourselves to others?  And in the process we judge them thinking that if we can prove their darkness, somehow we will look like we are in the light.

How foolish we are to defame others in the presence of Christ. How foolish is the pastor or layman who thinks that His church is in competition with the other churches in the area.  Should we wish the demise of others for our own benefit?  Should we want to see others fail?  When they do fail, is that something to rejoice about or mourn over?

The job of a follower isn’t to be so insecure that you have to build a case for your righteousness on the wickedness of others, but rather to follow. Followers follow.  Followers obey.  Followers trust. Followers are faithful. Followers seek to hear their master say, “well done, my good and faithful servant.” Somehow the sins of others never factor into that evaluation.

Father,

I am often guilty of looking to others to prove my righteousness rather than turning to follow you.  I ask for your forgiveness for not looking to you for my righteousness in those moment and trying to build a righteousness of my own.  Today my eyes are on you.  No one has the right to judge sinners but you.