The church has periods of time in history when we affect society (our world in which we live). But there are many times that society affects the church and pollutes the Body of Christ. We become like the world instead of trying to make a difference by pointing people to salvation in Jesus. This happens when life gets tough and when friends put you down for believing in Jesus. When life becomes too much mentally and emotionally, we lose energy and we quit. It’s all too easy to quit. So, Paul encourages the church to get back to the work of doing “what you have done from the beginning”—live in responsive obedience to God!
Paul calls us to become a breath of fresh air in a stale environment that has polluted society with all kinds of behaviors that do not please God. Paul is adamant about where our energy comes from and how we need to tap into that power that feeds our energy. “That energy is GOD’S energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.”, Paul preaches. THIS is responsive obedience. Responding with willingness to love and serve God by serving others who need him with an attitude of joy. It is being prepared and ready to begin each day with God. It is knowing and loving God so deeply that we gratefully obey God at a moment’s notice. We know, without doubt, that God is on our side and wants His very best for us!
Do you know someone like that with responsive obedience to God?
Don’t you love hanging around a person who loves like God loves us?
Don’t we welcome a breath of fresh air in a polluted, sinful, hateful world?
Don’t we crave communion with people who are energetic in their love for Jesus, not holding anything back in service to humanity, being in the world but determinedly and joyfully not like the world?
Is that person you? Is that person me?
It can be! Be still, let go of what we want in exchange for what God wants to do in us. Really know God and listen to Him, not ready to reply with questions but ready to obey!
Be responsively obedient to HIS plans for us even on this day. There will be a definite difference in us that will go deep and then emerge from us as a fresh air to our world. Only then will the church, in Jesus Name, for His glory, affect society.
Philippians 2:12-30, The Message
12-13 What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
14-16 Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.
17-18 Even if I am executed here and now, I’ll rejoice in being an element in the offering of your faith that you make on Christ’s altar, a part of your rejoicing. But turnabout’s fair play—you must join me in my rejoicing. Whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for me.
19-24 I plan (according to Jesus’ plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good! I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus. But you know yourselves that Timothy’s the real thing. He’s been a devoted son to me as together we’ve delivered the Message. As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off. And then I’m hoping and praying to be right on his heels.
25-27 But for right now, I’m dispatching Epaphroditus, my good friend and companion in my work. You sent him to help me out; now I’m sending him to help you out. He has been wanting in the worst way to get back with you. Especially since recovering from the illness you heard about, he’s been wanting to get back and reassure you that he is just fine. He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him. And not only on him—he had mercy on me, too. His death would have been one huge grief piled on top of all the others.
28-30 So you can see why I’m so delighted to send him on to you. When you see him again, strong and strapping, how you’ll rejoice and how relieved I’ll be. Give him a grand welcome, a joyful embrace! People like him deserve the best you can give. Remember the ministry to me that you started but weren’t able to complete? Well, in the process of finishing up that work, he put his life on the line and nearly died doing it.
As I think about these words, I am convicted once more to step up my efforts in obedient response to you. I love you, Lord, heart, mind and soul. I need to show this love in obedience to your message, call on my life, even on this day. May your glory be seen in me as a breath of fresh air for others seeking you.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen
“Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God.” Yes!