The more I read Scripture the more difficult I find it to isolate one verse for meditation or focus. Most verses rely on their context to teach accurately the Word of God. And the verse(s) that I cling to this week verifies this once again.
Late last week, one of my kids had a particularly grumbly attitude toward her school work. I began with my usual reminder to do things without grumbling and complaining, but realized that this episode required more than a gentle reminder. With the verse from last week weighing on my mind I knew this attitude would easily give the devil opportunity in this child’s life which overflows to the others in our household as well. We set aside the school books and took up residence on our couch to discuss the attitude and the ‘why’ behind it, and the ‘why’ it needed fixing. We talked for quite a while, and while it is sometimes difficult to set aside an attitude quickly, God does transform hearts, in His timing.
We turned to the context of the “complaining” verse – Philippians 2
(bear with me here, while we set up the verse)
Strive for humble unity:
1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Follow that lead:
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Need more reasons? --
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life;
And, Paul’s response to their obedience, and my verses for the week:
that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. 17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
So much of that chapter wrapped up what I want for my children – humble, unified, blameless, obedient, shining lights. And, as I see them grow, even through struggles and working out of their own faith, I desire to rejoice in their victories, God's victories in their lives. I will not have run or worked in vain. Everyday, as I pour myself out as a mother, I look for those times that we can rejoice together. Regardless of the frequency of those unified times of rejoicing, I must remain faithful. I am driven to my knees all the more, that my children will hold fast to the word of life and my days with them will not be in vain.
I always find encouragement from scripture both as a Christian, and as a mother. This chapter reminds me of the depravity of the world around us, the powerful example of Christ, and my need to constantly pour myself out in prayer on behalf of my children. I look forward to years of rejoicing together over their faith and unity in Him. And, for now, that vision keeps me daily diligent to pass along my faith, and encourage them in it as well.
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,
I joy, and rejoice with you all.