Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Philippians 2:16 It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you— 18 and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.
The Christian life is not a sprint, but a marathon. Paul knew this only too well, and he felt the need to encourage the church in Philippi. There was a great need to hold fast to the word, to Christ, who is the light of the world. They were to shine like stars, and this could only be possible if they reflected the light of Christ. In reflecting the light, the Philippian believers would offer the word, as life to a world in need.
Paul’s life was an example of personal sacrifice for the sake of others. Holding fast to Christ, he was now willing to be poured out, over the sacrifice, for others. He did not consider himself worthy enough to be considered the sacrifice, for this was Christ, but he was poured out as a liquid, over the sacrifice. In the midst of this he found great joy, for these followers of Christ, they were his joy.
Now, understanding the need to hold fast and the joy found in faith of others, the Philippians were to follow Paul’s example. They were to rejoice with Paul, all the while holding fast to the word, and allowing themselves to be poured out for the sake of others. This was a life of faith, one in which the commitment was made for the long haul, where holding fast became second nature, and sacrifice a normal practice.
Sometimes it’s really hard to keep going when you don’t see any results. Walking with the Lord day in and day out, holding fast to the word, we come to him with expectations. Often our expectations are not met in our own personal timing. We want things to happen faster, and in the way in which we imagined. But that’s just not the way in which God works.
Today’s passage is a gentle reminder that the Christian life is one of an on-going journey into transformation. There may be some dramatic moments, but for the most part, it will be a steady journey of holding fast. Somedays that will look like holding onto a bucking bronco that is determined to send us crashing to the ground. Other times it will be a gentle ride in which we are tempted to let go and shout, “look, no hands!” We all know that when we do that we are not prepared for the unexpected, and down we go!
What does it mean to hold fast to the word? We must embrace the daily discipline of spending time reading the word of God. We must allow the word to leap off the pages and enter into our personal lives. The word must become transformative in our actions and reactions. Even when we feel as if we are going through a dry spell, we continue onward, for in the long-haul, it will make a difference.
Holding fast to the word means that I let go of self-interest. Life begins to revolve around knowing and becoming more like Christ. My life becomes an offering for the sake of others that need to know the Savior. Suddenly, we find that we have followed Paul on his journey, reflecting Christ and shining like stars in the world.
Lord, please help me have the courage and the strength to hang on and follow you faithfully. Amen.