Philippians: Joy Centred in Jesus – Part 5

Phil. 3:12-4:3

Philippians: Joy Centred  in Jesus – Part 5

Travelling the Spiritual Journey

I. Have PATIENCE with the PROCESS. (3:12-16)
A. Understand NOBODY has ARRIVED. (3:12-13)
B. TRUST in the “HOLD” of Jesus. (3:12)
C. Between the PAST and the FUTURE. (3:13-14)
D. Trusting GOD to be our TEACHER. (3:15)
E. FAITHFUL to what we have already ATTAINED. (3:16)

Paul’s message today is encouraging. I once heard a speaker say that “The steps toward maturity, are by their very nature, immature.” In our following of Jesus we learn as we go. We make mistakes, but the point is that we allow God to teach us to follow, and as we learn we seek to live faithful to what we know.

1. Kid’s Question: Try to remember when it took you a long time to learn something, maybe tying your shoes or riding a bike. How did it feel while you were learning?
2. Why do you think we often find it easier to have patience with others than we do with ourselves? What might that say about our own foundational sense of God’s love?

II. The IMPORTANCE of the correct FOCUS. (3:14-4:3)
A. Our “NORTH STAR” is the CROSS. (3:14,17-18)
B. The tragic REALITY of another OPTION. (3:18-19)
D. Standing FIRM when CONFLICTS arise. (4:1-3)

As a basketball coach I used to tell my team repeatedly, “Be careful what you practice, because you will get really good at it.” The point was that what we focus on, whether intentionally or not, will shape who we become. Paul says we need a clear focus on the cross if we are going to follow Jesus.

3. What does it mean to have the “cross” as our North Star? What shape does that give to your day to day life? Think of actual situations.
4. What does it mean, “their god is their stomach”? How much do the habits we have engrained in our physical bodies direct our actions?
5. How does the hope of ultimate transformation impact you on a more daily basis currently? Or does it?

III. How can we JOURNEY with JOY? (3:1)
A. Be HONEST about WHERE we are. (3:12; Ps. 139:23-24)
B. Have PATIENCE with OURSELVES and OTHERS. (3:15-16; Ps. 103:13-14)
C. The CROSS become our METAPHOR and METHOD. (3:17-18; Mt. 16:24)
D. Lean into RELATIONSHIPS during CONFLICT. (4:1-3; Mt. 5:23-24)

So how can we journey with joy? How do we follow Jesus in ways that cultivate joy in our lives and speak of the goodness of the gospel to those around us? Paul calls us to rejoice in the Lord, so how do we do that in our day to day lives?

6. What are some ways the community of faith can help us to be honest with ourselves? How open are you to that?
7. What is one situation where you need to exercise patience with yourself or someone else this week? How can you take steps to do that?
8. Where are you experiencing relational conflict? Is there anywhere that you can lean into the relationship instead of running away or avoiding it?