Grab a cup of tea or coffee and let’s have Bible study together! I want to start this as a series and go through a devotional with you all. We can share what God is teaching us or has laid on your heart, and really use this season we are in to grow. Spring is the season of growth after all! And since we can’t really go out to coffee shops and just sit over a cup of coffee or tea and talk, let’s get together here! We can have a virtual Bible study date. 😉 I’m very excited to start this series with you and connect with other bloggers and Christians in this way! If you have the Bible App, I’ll kind of be going along with the devotional Defiant Joy: A Study On Philippians by Sharon Hodde Miller “What Philippians teaches us about thriving no matter our circumstances”. I love the book of Philippians! It has always given me encouragement, taught me so much and continues to every time I read it. I can’t wait to see what God reveals to us through His Word, and how He will work in our hearts!
Day #1: Philippians 1:1-18
Paul wrote the book of Philippians with a central thought: Only in Christ are real unity and joy possible. It’s crazy that Paul wrote this letter while he was under imprisonment. He was alone, facing death, in one of the darkest moments of his life, and he is full of joy. He is one of the best examples of proving that your circumstance does not determine your joy. Paul was writing to The Church of Philippi which is located in modern-day Greece. He loved the Philippian church and was sending his thanks for their help in his time of need, and also instruction on Christian unity.
Joy that defies cynicism.
Cynicism is the hardness, bitterness, and jadedness of expecting the worst in people. Paul had reason to be cynical. In verses 15-17 we see that there were some “rival” Christians who viewed ministry as a competition, and Paul’s imprisonment or setback was their gain. He had been hurt and betrayed by people, but he resisted growing bitter and hard. How? (v. 18) “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.” He simply rejoices that Christ is preached because, at the end of the day, his life and his mission were never about him. We can resist cynicism by elevating Christ instead of ourselves. I love this part of the Defiant Joy devotional; it says that when our primary focus is giving God glory instead of gathering our own glory, it sets us free. We have nothing to prove, so long as we can point people to Jesus. That is why Paul could suffer betrayal, in chains, alone, facing death, and STILL rejoice that Christ was preached. That was his main purpose and goal. We see that all throughout Philippians. He saw his circumstances as a way to spread the gospel and to comfort others (v. 12-13). There is freedom when we take the focus off from ourselves. It is also important to have appropriate expectations of people to avoid cynicism. People are capable of good, but we also know that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) When we expect too much of people, we become hurt when they fail. We ALL fall short. We are ALL broken. This is why we need Jesus, can I get an amen? Put your focus on giving God glory! We cannot live with the stress of trying to be perfect and cannot live with the pain of expecting others to be either (we will all fail miserably). Only God is able. Put your trust in Him and experience the freedom and joy that comes with it!
Well, thanks for joining me today for Bible study! What was something God spoke to you about from the text? What is your favorite verse in Philippians? Let’s start some conversations in the comments! I’d love to talk with you or help answer any questions!
Until next time,