Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Get There from Here

For the past few months, The Well has been working through the book of Philippians. It's been an amazing time together, as we've studied this short epistle. There are so many rich passages to be found here; it's no wonder so many people love reading it.

In many ways, it's the perfect counterpoint -- or antidote, if you will -- to the previous post (Ecclesiastes 2014).

At left: the entire book of Philippians in Wordle form.
There are so many profound snippets that you can memorize, use as quotes, write on a sticky-note and put it on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself of who you are in Christ, what He has done for you:
  • "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (1:21)
  • That incredible early hymn about the servant attitude of Jesus which culminates with "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (2:5-11)
  • "I want to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection..." (3:10-11)
  • "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal..." (3:13-14)
  • "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (4:4)
  • "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (4:6-7)
But in light of the previous post, I think that if there's anything from our church's study of Philippians over the summer that really stands out, it has to be this:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (4:8)
If I were to take that verse seriously -- and really, the whole book of Philippians by itself would qualify as true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable -- and focus my mind on those things, I suspect I would "become the change I want to see" (to paraphrase Ghandi's most popular quote).

Negativity, outrage, and ranting may guarantee more blog traffic, re-tweets, and notoriety, but it won't get any of us where we want to go.

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