Have you heard this saying? “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” While it may be true in most cases, imitation in the Christian life is not mere flattery. It’s necessary for survival.
God never intended us to live alone. We were created for community and fellowship with other people. Therefore, our spiritual walk also needs the fellowship and community of other believers. We can’t do it alone.
Maturity. Today this trait is grossly lacking in our society; however, it used to be an esteemed and desired attribute. Maturity was something all young people used to strive to attain and was a characteristic expected by adulthood.
No one enjoys being around immature people and very few would entrust important or critical tasks or jobs to immature individuals. In contrast, most people entrusted with much must be mature in character and conduct.
In the same way, God calls us to be mature in our spiritual lives and spiritual thinking. We were never intended to stay infants in the faith forever, but are called to grow and mature into strong men and women in Christ. In Philippians, Paul shares with us the mindset of the mature Christian as he shares his testimony and mission.
Philippians 3 is probably my favorite chapter in this wonderful book! It’s packed with many great nuggets for thought, reflection, and meditation. In this passage, Paul reveals so much of his heart and his relationship with the Lord that we don’t find elsewhere. It encourages us in our walk with the Lord and convicts us in areas in which we can improve and become more like Paul.
In fact, towards the end of this chapter, Paul encourages the Philippians—and now us—to imitate him as he follows Christ. We’ll dive more into what that means in a later post. However, as we jump into today’s study passage, keep that in mind, for Paul was a strong pillar in the faith and has many lessons to teach us.
Do you feel pretty good about your skill set? When you think about the life, job, task, or mission in front of you, do you feel confident that you’re equipped and ready to successfully complete what you need to do?
There’s no problem in feeling confident or qualified for a job or position at work. We just need to be careful that we don’t transfer that feeling of self-assurance into our spiritual lives. The world pushes self-reliance, self-image, and self-possession so much that we often feel we must be fully confident and sure in our own abilities. However, when it comes to our spiritual lives, God calls us to put no confidence in the flesh or in ourselves. As Paul shares with the Philippians:
Ever heard the name Epaphroditus? Probably not. It’s not used much anymore; however, back in first century Philippi, Epaphroditus was a hero. We don’t know much about this little known hero; however, we do know that Paul gave him one of the highest commendations in his letter to the Philippians. Let’s see what the Apostle had to say about this warrior in the faith.
When in ministry, it’s always helpful to have at least one person you can always count on, who shares the same vision and passion that you do, and is always there to help you fulfill the duties of your calling. Such individuals are invaluable and in great demand. Paul was blessed to have several men who fit this category: Titus, Aquila, Silas, Luke. However, there was one young man that stood out above the others and became vital to Paul and his ministry. That person was Timothy.
Darkness can be a scary place. Whether it’s a child with a vivid imagination or an adult who has begun to grasp the depravity of man, lack of light can cause unrest and fear. This is why parents invest in night lights and adults buy flashlights. For darkness is vanquished when light appears. The two cannot coexist.
The same is true in the spiritual realm. As sin increases, so also the darkness becomes thicker. However, light can still pierce the darkness and break its power. And we are that light. We are God’s night lights in a sense and are called to shine with the brilliance of the hope that we have. As Paul exhorts us in Philippians 2:14-15:
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”