Supply Every Need {Philippians 4:14-23}

Read Philippians 4:14-23

I thank God for you
Partakers with me in grace
Complete my joy
Same mind, same love
Serve in humility like Jesus
Gain Christ
Press on
Pray with Thanksgiving
Learn to be Content

All of the lessons in this book are meant to be done through the encouragement of community, with one-another, partners in the gospel and partakers of His grace.

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In his final lesson, again Paul makes it known that we are encouraged in community.

“Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble” (v.14).

We need each other especially in times of suffering. While Paul says his suffering has advanced the gospel, and he counts everything as loss compared to knowing Christ, he is still grateful to have others share in his joy and in his sorrow. This church in Philippi supplied him with physical means and filled him with relational joy.

This church has been a picture to Paul of what God is to us.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

God uses His people to meet need. He supplies us with everything, sometimes through others. He encourages us by His spirit and through His people.

Helping out our brothers and sisters in Christ is a way of reflecting God’s love. Being generous with our time, talent, and treasure is a sacrifice that is “acceptable and pleasing to God.” (v.18)

As we end this study on the book Philippians, think of ways that you can meet need for others and encourage them in their mission for God and in their time of need in suffering.

1. Reread the book of Philippians. Try to summarize each chapter in one word or short sentence.

2. What were some of the major themes of this book. How has your perspective on suffering changed after studying this letter?

3. Were you encouraged through this study? By these words? By God? By others? How can you now encourage others in their time of need?

Comment below with the one take-away you had from this book.

 

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Learned to Be Content {Philippians 4:10-13}

Read Philippians 4:10-13

Learned: acquire by experience, pursuit of knowledge

If something is learned it doesn’t come natural.

I learned to ride a bike, through instruction, through practice, and through many hours of my father patiently teaching me how to do so.

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I learned a second a language by sitting in my dual-immersion elementary school classroom and speaking Spanish with friends on the playground.

I learned how to cook by . . . just kidding, I’m still learning how to do that.

None of these things came natural to me. I wasn’t born with the ability to ride a bike or speak Spanish or cook. In fact, some of these take more work than any others.

The same is true when it comes to contentment. It is learned by learning Christ.

Contentment is not found when all of our circumstances are perfect. Contentment is found in the perfect One, Christ Jesus. Contentment takes practice and continuous effort to remember who Jesus is and who He says we are in Him. It’s letting go of the idea that when everything is perfect, I will be content.

It’s releasing the idea that when _________ happens, then I’ll be content. There is no circumstance that will make you content. There is no fulfilled desire that will bring contentment like the fulfillment of Jesus. No job, no relationship, no shopping spree, no amount of money, no season of life, no TV show, no diet that will bring contentment like Christ.

Until we understand that, we keep looking to other things to satisfy, rather than being satisfied in Him alone. If contentment is learned, than I say let’s open up the Book and dive right into the lesson. No need to waste anytime when we can sit with the Teacher and learn from Him.

1. What are the circumstances Paul has learned to be content with?

2. Why is contentment learned?

3. How can you learn to be content? Where does true contentment come from?

 

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Think on These Things {Philippians 4:8-9}

Read Philippians 4:8-9

“What was I thinking?”
“Who am I to write something like this?”
“I’m not a good wife”
“I’m so stupid, this is dumb”
“I hate my teeth”

All things I have said to myself in the midst of this project. Deeply rooted fear and insecurity that filled my mind nearly every time I sat down to work on Philippians.

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Our thought life has much more control than we realize. About a year ago, a dear friend and I started a blog for this very issue, the issue of self-talk. We realized that much of our anxiety, fear, insecurity, and depression could be rooted in our thought life. And much of these thoughts come from losing sight of Christ and forgetting the gospel. Which is why we named the blog “Self Talk the Gospel”.

Gospel means good news. It’s the good news of Jesus! When we are battling through negative self-talk it’s because we are listening to lies in our minds about who we are, what can happen, and how God has forgotten us, rather than listening to the truth of what is good and excellent; who God says we are and how much He cares for us.

Our mind can be the greatest battlefield in the Christian life. We have to learn to take our thoughts captive and demolish strongholds and lies (2 Corinthians 10:5) before they spiral out of control, leaving us anxious, filled with fear and doubt, and in a depression.

This life is constantly retraining our mind to think on Christ. That’s why Paul gives us a list of what TO think about to help with that. It seems that in times of suffering we can choose to believe what is true, or listen to fear and let our thoughts drown out the Gospel.

I say, let’s fight fear and replace it with truth. Start today by memorizing a verse from Philippians. Make a list of things that are good, true, lovely, and praiseworthy. Don’t listen to the lies you tell yourself, listen to the truth of God’s word instead.

1. List the things Paul encourages us to think about in times of suffering.

2. What does it mean to dwell?

3. In times of suffering, what do you dwell on? The things listed in these verses, or to dwell in anxious thoughts, rooted in fear? What is one thing you can do to fight fear in times of suffering?

 

 

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The Cure for Anxiety {Philippians 4:1-7}

Read Philippians 4:1-7

I’m sure most of us have read this passage or seen it on a plaque at the Chrisitan bookstore a hundred times. These familiar passages can sometimes be the hardest to study because we think we “already know it”, when in reality we’ve never let it sink deeply into our hearts.

The theme of this book is encouragement, especially in suffering. So it only makes sense that Paul would give us some advice on what to do when we are struggling with anxiety in times of suffering.

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Notice the first word he uses in verse 4 in this admonition? Rejoice. He tells us to rejoice, twice. He then goes on to say pray. In all things, especially in times of anxiety, pray with thanksgiving.

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety is rooted in fear.

Anxiety, worry, and fear do not only pertain to what is true, real, and present, but also the possibilities of danger, horrible outcomes, and uncertainty. Paul tells us that one of the best ways to fight worry is to focus on what is true in your life and be thankful.

Ann Voskamp in her book 1000 Gifts tells us that a lack of thanksgiving is what led to the fall. Rather than Adam & Eve being thankful for all that God had given them, they focused on the one thing He had withheld, and out of ingratitude and pride, they went after it. She tells us that having an attitude of gratitude helps fight even the greatest of sins, it helps fight worry, fear, anxiety, and discontentment.

If you notice, in our worry, if we pray to God with thanksgiving, we are filled with peace. Peace doesn’t come when our mind is absent of anxious thoughts, peace comes when our mind is filled on the reality of God.

The weapon we use against anxiety is prayer, and the ammunition is thanksgiving. Starting today, when worry or fear begin to fill your mind, take those captive with thanksgiving. Keep a list of things you are thankful and begin to focus on what is good and let the peace of God guard your heart and mind.

1. What is the remedy for feeling anxious (v.6)? What is the result of that remedy (v.7)?

2. Look up the words rejoice and thanksgiving. Write the definitions below.

3. Do you struggle with feeling anxious? How can you fight anxiety with thanksgiving? Make a list of 10 things you are thankful for below.

This post is not meant to oversimplify the mental illness of anxiety. In this context, it’s referencing fear, worry, and anxious thoughts. If you suffer from clinical anxiety, I’d encourage you to visit The Well’s Counseling Center for greater resources on how to find hope and healing.

 

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Citizens of Heaven {Philippians 3:17-21}

Read Philippians 3:17-21

We know it is a full-on fight to keep our perspective on God and His kingdom. So often I get caught up in my own circumstances and become more involved in building my own kingdom, than keeping Christ and His kingdom at the forefront of my mind.

I love Paul’s advice for how we can combat that type of living. He reminds us here to keep our eyes on Christ and on those worth imitating.

Do you have someone in your life that lives for the LORD in a way that’s worth imitating? Someone who can disciple you, mentor you, and show you what a life surrendered looks like?

 

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Get around them, ask them questions, ask them to pray for you. Imitate them.

Again, this book is a source of encouragement and one of the greatest ways God encourages us is through others. We need to have others around us, community, that we can imitate. Not imitate in the weird, flattery, obsessive way, but follow after, be inspired by, people we can look to as examples.

Otherwise, our gaze can turn so easily onto the things right in front of us. It is so easy to lose sight of our eternal perspective and start living with earthly pleasures in mind. “Their god is their belly” (v.19) refers to self worship; whatever we want, whenever we want, whatever makes us feel good, we go after.

When we pursue earthly things as opposed to living as a citizen of heaven, we become our own God, which is why Paul calls these kinds of people “enemies of the Cross.” It seems harsh, but living for earthly pleasure alone reduces God and makes the cross less important in our lives.

This passage is not saying we can’t enjoy our lives or even earthly things, it’s telling us that when anything is a greater aim or greater joy than Christ, we’re missing it. Our greatest aim should be living as citizens of heaven, using others as examples to help us press on toward doing so.

1. Compare and contrast the life lived as a citizen in Heaven vs. a life consumed with earthly things.

2. Why is Paul telling us to imitate others?

3. Are there things in your life you need to purge in order to pursue Christ and live as a citizen of heaven?

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Press On {Philippians 3:12-16}

Read Philippians 3:12-16

You’ve heard it said “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.”

It’s true.

Actually, I have no idea what training for a marathon is like, but from what friends tell me, it’s hard, time consuming, and challenging. So this is a good analogy.

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What would happen today if you set out to run 26.2 miles straight? You would die. Okay, I would die! I haven’t trained for something like this and my protein shake for breakfast certainly wouldn’t suffice as a pre-marathon meal.

Whether you’ve run a marathon or not, you know that there are many aspects to training for a 26.2 mile race.

Lots of physical training. Running, running, and more running.
Starting out in shorter distances, you run and build up endurance.
You add on miles as you train.
You eat differently when running long distances.
You hydrate appropriately.
You treat injuries immediately.
You rest.

So much of this is to be carried over into the Christian life. It is a life of endurance, filling up on the Bread of Life and Living Water, being helped when hurting, and resting regularly. God has designed life this way.

Paul is pushing us with words of encouragement here, telling us how we can run with endurance.

We forget what is behind, and press on to what lies ahead.

We “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (v.14)

We must as Christians be able to forget what is behind us, the shame and guilt that try to weigh us down, the sin that tries to trip us up. The only way to run this race is to keep laser beam focus on Christ.

It’s not about perfection, is about perspective.
It’s not about running the fastest, but running with endurance.
It’s not about our own strength, but running in His strength.

When we press on toward the prize, we can push through our suffering and hard circumstances. When we can keep our eyes fixed on Christ, the race gets easier.

1. what is Paul’s encouragement to us in these verses?

2. Why do we need to be reminded to endure and fix our eyes on the prize?

3. Are you in a season you need to press on? Have you lost sight of Christ? List some ways you can “press on toward the goal” below.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

 

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