set your chains aside
We are so excited to begin the book of Philippians together! You can find the plan by following this link — but if you haven’t created a YouVersion account yet, be sure to do that first! After creating an account, you’ll be able to start the Philippians plan – just search She Reads Truth to pull up our current and previous plans. [If you’re still having a difficult time finding the plan, each day’s reading is available right here – Subscribe to #SheReadsTruth by Email ]
On this day–whatever day it may be–make a note in your journal, put a mark on the calendar. Mark this day.
And then ask the Lord to soften your heart over these next eleven days: pray that your heart would become more like His. More and more, each day.
This time? We’re doing it together.
Introduction to Philippians:
Paul writes Philippians from prison. Yes, you read that write. Prison. And this didn’t seem to slow down Paul’s ministry one bit – though I’m sure his accusors hoped it would. Nothing could keep him from ministering to others, encouraging the young churches, and rejoicing in his life in Christ.
We will learn a lot from the instructions that Paul writes to the Philippians, but there is just as much to learn from the life and ministry of Paul himself: rejoicing in his suffering, thinking first of others, encouraging his brothers and sisters in Christ as they endured persecution, and sorting out conflicts within the church as it was jeopardizing their witness to the world.
In this letter, Paul is quite literally in chains for the Gospel. And yet, there is an overarching and very apparent theme of joy, gratitude and prayer for others in this passage.
Why do you think that is? What does Paul know that we, in far less noble chains than he, do not? He is thinking big-picture, long-term, Kingdom work. And on his heart is the business of encouragement.
He writes to the Philippians in verse 6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (emphasis added).
Paul makes no promise that they will see the fruits of their labor now – that the Gospel-sowing work they are doing in the lives of their unbelieving loved ones will be theirs to also reap. He doesn’t tell them to expect things to get easier or better or simpler. He just encourages them where they are, with a sure confidence to remember the bigger picture – to persevere. That all the good that has begun in that community is pointing to something greater – the “day of Jesus Christ”!
How are you encouraging those around you today? Are you putting aside your own chains to lift up and love others?
Let’s begin our study of Philippians by being a Paul. All of us together, let’s set ourselves and our trials aside and write – maybe even hand write – good, solid, big-picture encouragement to at least one other person. And permission for plagiarism here: use scripture from this passage if you like!
Let’s all live today with the day of Jesus Christ – His glorious return – in the forefronts of our minds, “to the glory and praise of God.”