This is post #10 of a 26-session blog series entitled Two Joyful Pastors – One Great Work of Christ: A Journey with Paul, Timothy, and the Philippian Church. It was Eugene Peterson who said that Philippians is Paul’s happiest letter. Join us as we explore this joyful work of Christ as it manifest itself amongst Paul and Timothy, and the early church of Christ-followers in Philippi. Just maybe, we might learn a few secrets to finding true joy in the midst of our lives as well. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give Him the most pleasure. Philippians 2: 12-13 (MsgB)
So, where do you get your energy?
If you’re an introvert, like me, you generally renew your strength from drawing away from social settings, building up energy by being alone. If you’re an extrovert, you are just the opposite. Being alone actually saps life from you, but being social is where you feel the most alive.
Keep in mind, that being introverted or extroverted is not better than the other. It’s simply a way of defining where we get energized. Oh yes, the world generally pays more attention to the truly extroverted, but in truth, society is best served when it pulls from the natural strengths found in both extroverts and introverts.
And, it can also be noted, that over a lifetime, most of us, introverts or extraverts, learn to adapt our lives to a such a degree that we can navigate well in either setting, alone or in crowds. Actually, some folks have adapted so well, others see them as the opposite of who they really are! As a pastor, caring for souls, preaching, teaching, and leading public meetings, many believe me to be an extrovert, and are surprised when I tell them that I’m really an introvert, because, in truth, social settings drain energy from me while being alone fills up my tank.
So, I ask you, once more?
Where do you get your energy?
What floats your boat?
What gets your life juices flowing?
Sadly, our westernized world has evolved to such a degree that it no longer points to God, our Strength and Song, as the best place to find energy for our lives (see Psalm 118: 14). As a matter of fact, our secularized society would actually scoff at the idea of being in God’s presence as a source of energy. Instead, we’d rather lean on highly-caffeinated energy drinks, high-carb energy bars, or running a 5K invitational for a good cause on a Sunday morning.
Yet, as I see it, Paul and his friends are onto something pretty powerful here when they remind their friends in Philippi that the true source of all energy comes from living a life of “responsive obedience” to God. Paul even suggests here that they double up their efforts in their life of salvation, being reverent and sensitive before the Great I Am.
Talk about tapping into a powerful energy source!
Keep in mind, when we plug ourselves into the God of all creation, we’re re-charging our lives with the same energy that sparked the Big Bang, creating the entirety of our universe in one power sentence…
Let there be light. (see Genesis 1: 3)
Maybe, we might just want to unplug our life chargers from our cellphones and plug them into a much higher power? An energy source that never wains. A power source that never fails.
Today’s Prayer: Holy God, there is a practical reason You are called the Higher Power. And today’s text says that You are willing and able to work Your energy deep within me, so that You receive the most pleasure from my life as I live it out for the purposes of God. Holy Spirit, empower me to live this life of responsive obedience to Jesus, being reverent and sensitive, for Your Name’s sake and for Your Glory. Amen.
Today’s Questions to Ponder: So, where do I find energy when I’m feeling low in strength? Am I looking primarily to earthly resources, and if so, am I willing to seek more energy for my life by plugging more into God? What might “being energetic in my life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God” feel or look like in my life today?
So, how are you experiencing Jesus as we ponder together on this journey into the Book of Philippians?
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