Unity-All for One
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The book of Philippians is all about unity. In a world full of divisiveness. We see it in politics, ideals about equality, our workplaces, and even in our church. The church is really our only hope for authentic unity. That is probably hard to believe for some of you based on what you see in the church today. There are a lot of times where the church is just as divided as you see in the world. No church is perfect, and because we are human, it won't be until we are with Jesus himself. However, the church should strive to pave the way to unity, and the only hope is Jesus working through the church.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Jesus said "You are the light of the world" When He says this, He is talking about believers. When it comes to the impact we have in the world, over morality, ethics, righteousness, believers are the light of the world. But what does that really mean?
What happens when you flip on a switch to turn a light on? The light comes on, and you are no longer surrounded by darkness. Darkness flees. As believers, we have the unique ability to be this same sort of light in our world. Darkness is all around us in the form of the devil. He will try to steal, kill, and destroy all things that glorify God.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
It sounds pretty unbelievable right?? That Jesus trusted us, as imperfect as we are, to bring light to the world around us. I mean, we all sin every day, we all disappoint Him every day. It turns out that by our relationship with Jesus, we CAN be a light in the face of darkness, we CAN drive out the devil. The light we have, is our faith.
The absolute best way to practice your faith, is to pray. Seems simple doesn't it. Did you know that an average Christian only spends 2 to 3 minutes per day in prayer??? I know the excuses, I have said them myself. "I am too busy" or "I just don't have enough time". Pastor Jason brought up a point about this today that was a wake up call for many. Jesus came down so that he could save the entire world!! Amazing! Can you imagine how busy he must have been? With all of His travels, healing people, teaching people, the list is really endless. Let's face it, he was a busy man!! Now think back to those excuses. "I am too busy"... Are you busier than Jesus was? There are many references throughout the bible that reference Jesus spending time in prayer.
Prayer is how we exercise our faith!! It keeps us strong, it keeps us close to God. We have got to spend time in prayer. The key is also who we pray with. We all need to spend alone time in prayer. It is so important to have a spiritual foundation and a personal relationship with God. However, it is also important that we pray with others. Pray with your spouses, your friends, your church. A church that prays together, stays together!
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
In the book of Philippians, Paul shows us what prayer should look like. He prays with so much emotion and joy for the church. I love that he calls out the importance of thanking God. This is something that should be a big part of our prayer lives. Your life may not be perfect, and it may not be everything that you want, but no matter what your circumstance is, God has blessed you in so many ways. All you have to do is take the time to focus on the blessings instead of what you think you are missing. Once you have noticed a blessing, thank God for it!! He is where it comes from and where your blessings will continue to come from. Paul also reminds us to pray with joy. When you pray, keep a mindset of joy. Remember all of those blessings that God has provided and allow yourself to feel joy over them!
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.
If you believe God is in control, then your prayer life should reflect it. I once heard someone say that worry was just distrust in God. We have to remember that God is in control of our lives. He knows everything about us. He knows what we think, feel, agonize over, what our future holds, everything. That really should be an amazing feeling, that the God who created Heaven and Earth also has control over our lives. For me, it's also so important to remember that He has a good plan for us. That can be hard, I know. Every day it seems like there is something negative, or evil trying to worm its way into my life. Satan is real guys and he will do everything he can to convince you that God is not for you. The best part, is that he is wrong. God is doing good works in our lives. He wants good for us!!! Remember that he isn't finished with your story yet! When he is, I can't imagine how great it is going to be.
Ask yourself: Are you a prayer warrior?? Or do you struggle to make time for prayer?
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.
Verse 9 is one of my favorites. Paul is praying that the church experience more love, be able to see excellence, and be pure for the coming of Christ. What an amazing thing to pray for. To experience more love, I would find it hard to believe that any of us wouldn't want more love in our lives.
Paul has so much confidence in God that it is inspiring. It is the same confidence that we should all have as believers. We should have confidence to know that God has our backs, and that we don't have to take things into our own hands. Often we fail when we try to take things into our own hands. As you approach the days ahead of you, keep in mind how often you are praying about your circumstances. We are human, and that can cause us to fail. Our flesh will want us to gossip, or backbite when something doesn't go our way. I would instead urge you to pray about it first. Instead of gossiping, or getting angry, pray instead.
Prayer is one of the greatest privileges we have as Christians. We have the chance to have a personal relationship with God. Take advantage of it!!! Talk to Him! Believe it or not, he wants to hear from you!!