I have been reading/studying Philippians the last couple weeks and I have found Paul’s words extremely inspiring. Chapter one serves as an introduction to the letter, but it is full of challenges to live and be certain kinds of people with a fixed focus. For Paul the focus was not personal circumstances. For Paul the focus of his entire life was simple: Is the gospel of the Kingdom of God moving, advancing, challenging, and ultimately changing people?
The commentary I am reading through [The NIV Application Commentary: Philippians by Frank Thielman] has really been shedding light on how to bring 1st century words into practice in the 21st century. Here’s a little snippet:
“We are not likely to find the greatest advances of the gospel within the circles of prestige, power, and wealth so pervaisive in the West. We should expect instead that the gospel will make the greatest strides in places where no doubt exists that God is the agent of the work.”
This totally rocked me this morning when I read it. I often forget that “…God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.” [1 Corinthians 1.27-29 TNIV]
Often our attemtps to advance the message of Jesus are propped up by our finances, talents, and even celebrity…if that is even the right word to use. I wonder, if we were to look back on our efforts to advance the gospel, would we see that it was just that, OUR efforts that were at work? Or, is someone else at work through us?
The gospel won’t change the world by my power. The gospel can only change the world by God’s power.
I must be obedient, but at the end of the day, without God’s power working through my efforts, they are empty.
So, in my life and your life, who is supplying the power? Who are we depending on to move the ball down the field? Our strength or God’s?