I’ve been reflecting on my life some and if I’m honest, there are parts that would be nice to forget about forever. But I know that even those moments are valuable and had a purpose. For better or for worse, whether great or small, every moment has an effect on us! We all have our own unique journey but we all are in the process. I’ve definitely been through my own type of crucible yet am able to step back and see how God’s hand has led through every part of it(both the mountain and valley experiences). I’m grateful for every experience because there is always something good that God can do with you and me. I know I’m not THAT old but I admit that at times I do forget things. I forget where I placed something, or forget to text that person back, or worse yet- to shower for a few days(just kidding!). So let’s talk about a few things that we all need to remember always…these will help us overcome and get through whatever situation we are facing or will face.
#1 REMEMBER WHO’S BOSS
“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Here, we are reminded that God is the one that’s at work in us. We aren’t our own god or self-assigned counselor. My feeble attempts to make myself better are fruitless outside of God. I’m only the man I am today because of what God has done. He is the master potter that’s at work in each of our lives. Knowing this relieves the pressure and frees me to just go along with the ride. I can make things more difficult by rebelling against God’s wisdom and ways-taking the reins to my life. But what is better for me is when I walk in agreement and friendship with God. When I remember that God is going to complete this work in me, I always regain hope. To me, I (or even others) at times might seem like a lost cause. But God is the one at work and knows me better than I know myself. I’m confident that He is able to do what He said He would do!
#2 REMEMBER TO PRAY
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ…” Philippians 1:9-10
Prayer is our lifeline always because this is our connection to God, the one that’s at work for our behalf. Don’t you want to know what He’s up to? I know I do! This prayer especially is very insightful because Paul is asking for increase in love. Love is a very powerful thing because wherever your heart is, that’s where the rest of you will follow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen friends so busy with no time to hang. Yet, the moment they get in a relationship, they mysteriously have all this “extra” time to spend with this special person. Love really does lead our lives and we really can’t help it. We were created out of the most perfect and purest expression of love–the Godhead. It’s written in our DNA. But the important question is TO WHAT ARE WE FOCUSING OUR LOVE TOWARD? We need knowledge and discernment badly because love can blind us too. It’s easy to set our love on things that aren’t excellent or the best for us. But when our hearts are directed toward God, His values and kingdom, then we have something to live for and find it easier to carry on. This love gives us strength to endure and keep fighting to remain pure for Him.
#3 FORGET ABOUT YOURSELF
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.” Philippians 1:12-13
It’s all about perspective and remembering that life isn’t just about us. Paul was in chains suffering, but was able to see the bigger picture. Being able to step back from a present difficult situation that seems consuming is really important. Is God in your eyes bigger or smaller than what you are facing today?
#4 REMEMBER CHRIST
“And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8
Nothing helps me see my situation clearly like meditating on all that Jesus went through. His human life is the ultimate example of endurance and it provokes me to live the same. Because He experienced every temptation and trials of His own, He understands…I’m not alone. We have a friend always in Christ.
#5 REMEMBER WHAT’S AHEAD
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
If you’re looking behind you, you can’t walk forward very well. Our focus must be on what is to come. It is very easy to get overwhelmed with the present and the past. Sometimes it is very difficult to deal with, let go of, or break things from the past. And at other times, our present reality is just too much for us. But here, Paul sets the example that what gets us through anything is setting our view on the goal. It’s been said that if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. This is true which is why we all need goals, even if we don’t always make them. Without vision, we wander aimlessly and quickly can get depressed and discouraged. [my next post will go into this deeper as I share a recent experience I’ve had with this]
#6 REMEMBER TO REJOICE
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
Paul said this not once but twice…guess he really meant it! I think its important to notice that he said this at the end of his letter, not the beginning. So many times we try to fake ourselves through a difficult situation. We put on a fake grin and hide the fact to all that we aren’t doing well. I don’t recommend that ever. But if we take the time to remember these previous 5 things, we will see our hearts and perspectives change. Then, we just might find ourselves rejoicing…but not just in a better mood. No, it’s about gaining the right view of God because our rejoicing is in who He is. This is the key to worship…responding to who God is. So you then will know what it is to say like Paul: “I have learned in whatever situation to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”