We are now on day four of our “verse-by-verse” study of Philippians. I am glad to be taking the time to do this. I feel like it is something we rarely do. I can only speak for myself, but perhaps I am not the only one in this boat of trying to get things right in their life with God and am in need of doing things differently so those goals and ambitions come to pass. I am sure I am no the only person but I cannot assume anyone or everyone who reads these posts are in the same boat I find myself in. Therefore, I can only pray that my words reach those who need to hear them.
“So that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”
Only people in a leadership position are given the ability to approve something or not approve something. Their word stands. What is approved remains. What is not approved is changed.
Only the things that are excellent should be approved.
Being blameless is not merely a goal but is a lifestyle of living. In Christ, we can be seen as blameless. That is Paul’s hope for us anyway.
Jesus presents us before the Father. We see the Father through Jesus.
Paul’s imprisonment is not a bad thing. In His eyes, it has helped to advance the Gospel.
We know what excellence is. For some people, excellence is perfection, which is not at all what excellence is. Excellence encompasses the very nature of a continually striving and achieving success along the way. Excellence is looking in the mirror and seeing that you have done the very best you could have done and will continue to do your very best. Excellence is never giving up and always finishing strong.
Blameless is another one of those words that usually gets all mixed up. Being blameless is key to anyone’s walk with God. It entails being mature, having integrity, being supportive, never complaining, loving, compassionate, yet firm to one’s belief. One can only be seen as blameless through the eyes of someone else. It is only then when a person knows or can truly be confident that he has achieved a “status” of being blameless before others. This too is another aspect of having excellence.
We will be presented to the Father one day. Jesus will lead us there. He is the way to the Father and no one can enter into His presence without Christ. Jesus therefore has a motive in bringing us as a pure, healthy body. No son wants to bring a trashy friend or girlfriend home to meet the parents. He wants a girl represent him well. If he chose to date her, he wants his parents to know that he made a great decision. When the son brings the girl to the father, it is the son’s hope that the father will give his blessing and be filled with great joy. So, too, Jesus wants to present us to His Father with great joy.
Paul understands this and thus has no problem being imprisoned. For you and I, we might want to complain and get uptight about it. We might wish we never ended up in the ministry in the first place, but Paul understands that the Gospel is more important than his earthly comforts. Maybe we could learn to find joy in our trials as Paul.
I think we are starting to learn a few things about ourselves in these passages. For me, they are not always very comfortable. I like my personal western comforts. Would I be willing to be imprisoned for the Gospel as Paul? Do I care enough about others to place myself in that position? I often wonder if I could really do it. For you and I, we need to continually work on presenting ourselves as Christ would present us to His Father. Part of that simply means we need to be willing to approve what is excellent and strive for purity in every aspect of our lives. It isn’t easy but the end is beautiful and worth it.