MORE THAN JUST 'IF': The little word 'if' in v1 packs quite a bit of punch. It can set a condition, as 'if the sun shines I will swim,' but when you read it like this in the Bible, you can also read it as 'since.' In other words, 'since you have encouragement...' it must change the way you live.
WE BEFORE ME: You don't need to watch the news long to realize that most people in our world put themselves first, but such a selfish outlook never results in genuine happiness. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who give every ounce of their energy into improving the lives of others. While that is much more noble than selfishness, it quickly leads to burnout. The best path forward is given in v4 - It's important to look out for yourself, but in humility look also to the needs of others.
WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS: Imagine one of your best life long friends, who gained success in every area of life, who then gave up all they had to take all of the guilt and blame and consequences for everything you have ever done. That's the picture that the poem in the center of chapter 2 - really the center of the entire book of Philippians - paints of who Jesus was and what He did.
SING IT, BROTHER: For many people, singing seems weird, but it's quite likely that v5-11 was one of the church's first hymns. Even though it seems weird in our society, God's people have always sung God's word back to Him. Singing helps cement the words into our memories. We read God's Word, then we respond to it by praying and singing God's Word like an echo.
IT WILL GO AWAY SOON: Atheism is a temporary condition. So says v11 - every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord - even the atheists will need confess this truth. But in order to gain the everlasting benefits that come from confessing Jesus as Lord, you need to confess it here and now.
BE LIKE THESE GUYS: Paul uses his associates Timothy and Epaphroditus as examples of how to live out the words in this chapter. These were just ordinary guys, but by aligning their attitudes with God's will, they made a huge impact. You can too.
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The one who is above all things and to whom all glory is due (v9 & 11)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Have the same love and purpose that Jesus did because you are united to Him (v2)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
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