Last week, I put together a video update (and recited Philippians 1:1-30 with only a couple of minor flubs) and all the while have continued to work hard on Philippians chapter 2. This week on the schedule is Phil 2:1-4, however, I’ve been tracking ahead a fair bit.
Last week, I briefly spoke about false humility (something that verses 1-7 reminded me of), and this week’s reading only continued to reinforce that message.
This struck me most vividly in Paul’s exhortation in Phil 2:12-18:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence, but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to work and to will for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning so that you may be blameless and innocent, Children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, holding fast to the word of life so that in the day of Christ, I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering on the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
One of the interesting things that has come out of this project so far is how it seems to get almost easier to memorize the text. This is good in that it allows me more time to chew and if a hard verse is coming up (and I’m sure that there’s going to be some really complicated stuff in chapters 3 & 4), I can eat up some of the “extra” time I’ve gained.
On the downside, it’s a breeding ground for pride. “Look at me and how smart I am; look at how keen my mind is,” and all that nonsense (people who know me well know this is a big enough problem as it is).
But verse 13 reminds me that, even though I’m working hard at this it’s God who is at work. I can memorize Scripture because the Holy Spirit is (hopefully) searing it into my conscience and heart. And Paul’s command in verse 14, to do all things without grumbling or questioning, it’s a reminder of the need for humility in obedience. Considered in light of Phil 2:1-8 and his vivid description of Christ’s humility, how can I not make it my desire to submit well, as it has been granted for Christ’s sake that I “should not only believe in Him, but also suffer for his sake” (Phil 1:29).
So, that’s what God’s been teaching me through this project this week. What’s He been teaching you?