After Paul pulled ONE GOAL out of his letter to the Philippian believers, he confessed something that really grieved him. This is a man who was writing from a prison cell, after being largely forgotten, experiencing great need, and facing imminent judgment and death. He was physically in the dumps. But the thing that grieved him is exposed starting in Phil. 3:18. Instead of living like they have a heavenly citizenship, some people had become so wrapped up in "earthly things" that they got waaaaaay off track, to the point that he called them "enemies of the cross of Christ." He wept as he wrote that, saying those people were destroying themselves. They had been in the dumps and had not gotten UP. They lived there.
The bottom line that got this group to their place of destruction (and may take us there today): they had their mind dominated by "earthly things." This week my earthly things have ranged from teacher trouble at school to spots on my carpet to neighbors to laundry to a pain in my side to a rejection letter. What are your "earthly things?" It's next to impossible in today's world NOT to think all about earthly things, but sweet readers, it's only "next to" impossible, not impossible.
Paul says, "But our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Translation: Since we are heaven dwellers, think about our future with Jesus, knowing He will change us to be like HIM! And if we wonder, "Oh, yeah, how?" He answers that too, telling us Jesus will do it by the same power that lets Him keep everything under His control = creation. That's how. We're gonna be changed in the future, and that's a reason to keep pressing on and not get comfortable in the dumps.
And what about now? Well, let me give you my paraphrase of 4:1 - "Therefore, my sweet blog readers, whom I love and have great hopes and prayers for, my joy and investment, STAND FIRM in the Lord, beloved blog readers." You can read Paul's original here. ;) We have to keep God's thoughts and truths flowing through our minds daily. Weekly isn't enough in the world we face. Sunday morning will leave you starving, if that's all you get. Remember, the one goal is to KNOW Him, a goal that surpasses the ones we spend so much time on. If we're in the dumps, it serves us well to stop and think about whether or not we're spending enough time (any time?) knowing God, or if we're too busy fretting over "earthly things."
Action step for fighting discouragement today: Make a list of the 5 earthly things that are heaviest on your mind. Pray this prayer out loud or write it on a card and carry it with you:
Father, I know that as a citizen of heaven I will be changed one day. It seems hard to imagine that right now as I deal with the dumps of discouragement. I'm struggling with being overwhelmed with ________,___________,__________,__________, __________. I don't want to glory in my shame or set my mind on earthly things. I want to live like I am eagerly waiting for You. I need your help to stand firm in You today. I don't want to live like your enemy. I want to keep reaching for the one goal of knowing You. ~ Amen
Stand firm, blog friend. We all get down in the dumps, but we aren't mean to stay there. Because Christ Jesus has made us His own, let's rise Up From the Dumps. This weekend I have an inspiring book to share with you. I hope you'll check back.