To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
January/February 2016 Issue – Alive, ‘… because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ’ Ephesians 2:4-5
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Philippians 1:12-21 (NIVUK): “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.
As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
I think the above verses are a real encouragement for anybody in a difficult situation. Even though Paul is in chains he sees that the most important thing is that Christ is preached through the gospel.
Selwyn starts by saying: “Earlier we said we are not only thirsty but foolish. This means that before we grow spiritually we need to replace our foolish thinking with right thinking. … What is the mind’s core wrong belief? The belief, that we can make our lives work independently of God.
It is not enough to just confront our wrong beliefs: we need to replace them with the truths found in the Word of God. And the only way to get to know God’s Word is to read it. … The more you bring your thinking in line with God’s thinking, the easier it will be to say and mean, ‘For to me, to live is Christ.'”
I see many Scripture resources that are available on the web, and they often present a ‘verse for the day’. While they are good in reminding us of a particular biblical truth, the context is often lost in the brevity of the quote. Consequently, it’s important to read sections of the Bible, so that we are exposed to a better coverage of an aspect of God’s Word, and that means we should be spending more than a few seconds glancing at a Bible verse, each day. Your thoughts?