Hebrews 12:26-27 says “His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations . . . The phrase ‘one last shaking’ means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered” (The Message).
How can the coronavirus do a thorough housecleaning so the unshakable essentials remain in our lives? You may feel like you’re in prison being at home during this season. Paul was in a Roman prison when he wrote his letter to the Philippians, which will motivate us to transform our goals, prayer life, perspective, attitudes and calling toward a heavenly crown and reward.
Begin with prayer for discernment to change your perspective.
1. Pray for Disciples' Knowledge and Discernment
Paul and Timothy thanked the believers, elders and deacons in Philippi as they remembered them in prayer because of their partnership in the gospel. God's completed His good work until the day of Christ because of Paul's heart for them. He prayed their heart abound in knowledge and insight to discern what was best leading to purity and fruit of righteousness until the day of Christ for God's glory (Philippians 1:1-11).
Pray for knowledge, discernment, purity and righteousness in your disciples.
Adopt an expectant and humble attitude focusing on advancing the gospel.
2. Rejoice Over Circumstances to Advance the Gospel
Paul's circumstances advanced the gospel throughout the palace guard and encouraged others to speak God's word boldly. He rejoiced that Christ was preached, whether with selfish or loving motives. Their prayers led to deliverance and exalting Christ by life or death through the power of the Holy Spirit. Dying was the best outcome but living helped them progress in joyful faith. Paul exhorted them to stand firm in one spirit for the faith of the gospel. Opposition was a sign of their enemies being destroyed and they being saved by God. Paul's life showed that suffering followed believing (Philippians 1:12-30). Rejoice that your circumstances advance the gospel amid opposition.
3. Practice a Christ-like Servant Attitude
The love and fellowship of Christ should motivate them toward like-mindedness and one purpose by looking out for others interests instead of selfish ambition. A Christ-like attitude of servanthood and humility caused one to take up their cross, even to death. God exalted Christ by giving Him a name above every other name so that every tongue in heaven and earth will confess Jesus as Lord (Philippians 2:1-11). Practice a humble Christ-like servant attitude without any selfish ambition.
Trust in God’s power, serve others, and identify with Christ in His suffering and resurrection, which will supernaturally transform your life.
4. Work Out your Salvation in God's Power
Paul exhorted them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling trusting in God's power to act according to His good purpose. By not complaining or arguing, they became blameless children of God in a crooked and depraved generation shining like stars as they held out the word of life. Paul poured himself out as a drink offering hoping they walked faithfully so he could boast on the day of Christ. He planned to send Timothy, his son in the faith, who took a genuine interest in their welfare. Epaphroditus took care of Paul's needs and almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to provide they couldn’t give Paul (Philippians 2:12-30). Work out your salvation in God's power caring for others' welfare.
5. Know Christ through Sufferings
Paul reminded them to rejoice and glory in Christ by worshiping in the Holy Spirit and watching out for evil men who trust the flesh. Paul’s history from the tribe of Benjamin, law expertise, a Pharisee, zealous persecutor of the church and legalistic righteousness tempted him toward pride. He considered everything rubbish compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ as Lord. His righteousness came from Christ, not the law. He wanted to know Christ and to share in the fellowship of His sufferings and death before he experienced His resurrection (Philippians 3:1-11). Prioritize knowing Christ in His sufferings, death and resurrection.
6. Pursue God's Calling
Paul pressed on to lay hold of everything that Christ accomplished for him. He forgot the past and focused on winning the prize of God's calling in Christ. Paul exhorted them to embrace their citizenship in heaven instead of living with an earthly mindset like enemies of the cross whose destiny was destruction. Paul and his disciples waited for Christ, their heavenly Savior, who brought everything under His control and transformed their bodies into new and glorious ones (Philippians 3:12-21). Pursue God's calling according to His sovereign plan to supernaturally transform your life.
Continue in prayer, thanksgiving, and giving generously to others.
7. Pray Always and Think Truthfully
The Philippians rejoiced and showed gentleness because the Lord was near. Instead of anxiety, they prayed about everything with thanksgiving so God's peace guarded their hearts and mind in Christ. Their thinking was true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy to put into practice what they learned, received, heard and seen in Paul. He rejoiced over their renewed concern and learned the secret of contentment in any circumstance because of Christ's strength. Only the Philippians gave and received when he set out from Macedonia and repeatedly sent aid when Paul was in Thessalonica. He didn’t expect their gift but gloried in their sacrificial gift credited to their heavenly account. Paul prayed that God would supply all their needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:1-23). Pray and thank God always, think truthfully, and give generously for a heavenly crown and reward.
Answer the following questions to gauge your direction in life to earn a heavenly reward:
- What am I praying about?
- How do I view my circumstances?
- What is my attitude toward others?
- What am I striving for in life?
- What are my priorities?
- What is God's calling for my life?
- What am I thinking about?