The Hardest Thing to give to the LordSeptember 12, 2021
We are starting our fall discipleship series. It seems like at least once a year you should have a real conversation with your pastor and church about what it means to follow Jesus.
The Epistles are the original discipleship manuals. First Peter was a letter written to disciple the early church. James, Hebrews were both letters written to grow believers. Paul so often would go to a town, start a church, preach and then move on. He would follow up his visits with letters teaching the church how to follow Jesus more deeply. He wrote to the church in Philippi ten years after visiting.
Some notes on following Jesus: (Philippians 1:1-11)
1. I need someone praying for (Phil. 1:9-11)
- Philippians 1:8, “affections” is the Greek word for intestine or bowls. In Greek society, the emotions were in the stomach or liver.
- Notice how Paul just starts praying for their spiritual growth! You need to ask some people in your life to start praying for your spiritual growth.
2. The hardest thing to give God
- Jesus called your inner being your “heart.” (Matthew. 15:9)
- God told Samuel that God looks at the “heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
God doesn’t just want morality, money, giving, outward obedience. He wants me. The deepest recesses of who I am belong to Jesus. My thoughts, my attitudes, my faith, my emotions. The inner voice in my head, the words I allow to go through my mind, are to be in submission to Christ. That’s hard!
What I noticed reading Philippians is that it is a letter not focused so much on stopping wrong behavior (which is what many Epistles had to address) but on the inner-self.
Notice some of these verses from Philippians, how they are about our inner-being.
- Philippians 1:9: I pray love abound! Love more deeply.
- Philippians 2:3: Do nothing out of selfishness ambition/conceit.
- Philippians 2:8: Humble yourself… (no problem…) Like Jesus.
- Philippians 2:14: Do everything without complaining. (Starts in heart)
- Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything. (Translation of that in my life = Don’t worry)
- Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in Lord (says again: Rejoice)
- Philippians 4:12: Be content in every situation.
- Philippians Phil. 4:8-9: He even tells you what to THINK:
If the Roman Road is about Salvation, the Philippian Road is about discipleship of our deepest inner self.
II. INNER TRAITS OF A DISCIPLE:
- (Philippians 1:2)
- (Philippians 1:3)
- . (Philippians 1:4)
- (Philippians 1:9)
- (Phil. 1:10)
III. Where Do I Start?
1. Prayer of release. Give myself to Christ. Then listen for the Holy Spirit to guide you through the day.
2. Partnership: Get someone praying for your spiritual growth.
IV. Why is it so hard to give myself deeply to God?
- Because we’ve learned to
- I think I have a . My thoughts, my opinions, my worries and fears belong to me… we think. Following Jesus is to give up those things.
- Change We feel stuck with our own inner voice and old demons. We think we cannot change. In Philippians 1:6, Paul expresses great confidence that while we cannot change ourselves, God who saved us is working to change us.