Trusting God, No Matter Your CircumstancesPhilippians 1:1-11
On Day One, we began to learn how to study God's Word and why it's crucial for us to make time for it. We looked at the stories of people in Philippi and saw how Jesus changed their lives forever.
As we studied the stories of Lydia, the slave girl, and the jailer in Acts 16, we saw that they all had something in common – they were all seeking something to satisfy them. The reality is that we are all searching for something. We are all looking for a sense of purpose in life.
Jesus is the only one who can satisfy us. If God's Word is our roadmap, then Jesus is the key. He is the answer to our questioning, longing, and searching. It is through Him that we can find our purpose. When we enter a relationship with Him, everything changes.
When we begin a relationship with Jesus, our story doesn’t end there. Jesus doesn't just change us once and then leave us to figure everything out for ourselves. When Jesus changes our lives, it is just the beginning of a new and better story that continues forever.
We will spend the remaining sessions of Silent Sounds walking through the book of Philippians. It continues the account of life change we examined on Day One. When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he was in prison. The Philippians had sent him a “care package.” Paul begins his letter as a thank you to them, then spends time encouraging and challenging the church at Philippi.
By the time Paul wrote this letter, a thriving church had developed in Philippi. Paul addresses the letter to everyone in the church, knowing that these early believers needed his encouragement and instruction as they would face persecution and opposition.
It’s obvious from these verses how much Paul loves the people to whom he is writing. In verses 9-11, we read that Paul's main prayer for them is that they would continue to grow in knowledge and understanding of Jesus.
Our prayer for students on Beach Retreat is that they will leave the beach knowing the Lord better. Not just intellectually, but in their hearts. Spend time now praying that you, too, will experience the presence of the Lord more profoundly this week.
"And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
God wants to work in you. He wants to be part of your story – ALL your story, not just the good parts or the ones you want to share on social media. He wants you to invite Him in because He loves you. The question is: will you let Him? God doesn't want you because of the skills, talents, or gifts you can offer Him. All He wants is your heart! What is keeping you from giving God all your story? What is something you need to let go o
Think about this for a moment. All the deepest mysteries that humans have considered and search for, and the deepest desires and longings of men's hears, can be met by knowing Jesus. God wants to reveal Himself to you. He cares about you, He knows everything about you, and He wants to know you.
READ Philippians 1:12-18
What do you notice about Paul's circumstances? Where is he? What's going on around him?
Read Romans 8:28 (also written by Paul):
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Not only does God want to work in your life personally, but when we are in a relationship with Him and have responded to His call, we can be confident that He is working in and through all of the circumstances around us for our good. Let's look at Paul's circumstances. Reread verses 12-14. How was God using Paul's time in prison for good?
Most likely Paul didn't want to be in prison, but we see in these verses that - despite the hardness of the circumstances around him - Paul trusted that God was working in the midst of them.
Are there circumstances in your life that you need God to work in right now?
God sees you. He sees your circumstances. There's nothing you can do or be involved in that scares Him.
Read Romans 8:28 again.
Notice that it doesn't say, "God will work everything out so that we're comfortable," or "God will give us everything we want," or "God won't let anything bad happen to us." What it does say, though, is that no matter what's going on around us, when we trust Jesus with our lives, we can trust God is working in the middle of all our circumstances. Nothing is wasted, and nothing is pointless. And if He's in the middle of our stories, then He's standing next to us every step of the way. What's something you need to trust Jesus with
Called to Live for JesusPhilippians 1:12-18
Not only does God want to work IN you, but He also wants to work THROUGH you. Let that sink in for a second. The Creator of the universe wants YOU to be part of His plan. He wants to weave your story into a bigger and better one that's richer and deeper than your best hopes and dreams. God knows you, calls you by name, and wants you to be part of all He's doing.
Think back to the map illustration. Before we can figure out how we're going to get somewhere, we need to know where we're headed. Our goals determine our direction.
READ Philippians 1:19-26
To help you understand these verses, imagine a time when you had to be away from a good friend for an extended time. It's probably not difficult, considering that we all went through a season not too long ago when we were all isolated from our friends. Even though we had the technology to stay connected, there's nothing quite like meeting in person with the people closest to you.
That's the picture we see here. Jesus was Paul's best friend. Paul could still talk to Him whenever he wanted and experience all the joy that comes from being in a relationship with Him (we can have that too). But, just like we missed being in the physical presence of our friends and family during COVID, Paul is saying that what he wants more than anything is to be in Heaven with Jesus. As Paul continues writing, we understand that he knows that while he's here on earth, God has given him a purpose.
What do you think your purpose is? These verses teach us that our purpose is simple: to know Christ and to make Him known.
Do you know Jesus?
If your answer is “No,” what's keeping you from starting a relationship with Him today?
If you answered “Yes,” how are you making Him known to those around you?
READ Philippians 1:27-30
If our goals determine our direction, then our lives should reflect our purpose. And if our purpose is to know Christ and make Him known, our lives should reflect that. When we lose sight of our ultimate purpose, we will eventually find ourselves completely off-course, stranded in the middle of nowhere, wondering how we got so far off track. Jesus is the only one who can satisfy us. When we look for our purpose outside of Him, we'll always need help.
Read Matthew 6:33
“Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
This verse doesn’t mean that we simply put God first on our to-do list. It's not even about saying that He's our #1 priority. If our purpose is to know Christ and make Him known, then seeking the Kingdom of God above everything else means we seek Him in everything we do. How can you seek to know Christ better and make Him known? What would this look like?