Back in August, I read an online article by John Piper that challenged me with the words Philippians 2 would change my life. It’s a chapter I’ve tended to avoid in the past…. So far out of my realm of experience and with the potential to be deeply uncomfortable, I’d always read it without reading it (if you see what I mean).
But, I was challenged in a positive way. I want to change, to be more like Jesus, because He’s fantastic and to be even a tiny bit like Him is amazing.
Over the next few weeks, I’m planning to share on here some of what I learned. It’s taken from my journal so may be a little rough around the edges. But I was blessed by my study and I hope you will be too. I fell a little more in love with Jesus, who is truly extraordinary.
In verse 1, Paul writes: ‘So if there is any encouragement in Christ…’.
Paul seems to be me to be writing from an assumption that there is encouragement in Christ. Present tense: is. Now, for this time.
If encouragement comes from God, surely discouragement comes from the enemy. So I don’t want anything to do with discouragement. I will remember that in Jesus, I have encouragement. Have, have, have.
En-courage = to put courage into.
It puts courage into me when people say truthful things to build me up. They tell me I can do this, that I’m good enough, not to be afraid. Courage helps me step outside of my comfort zone and try new things. (My latest ‘stepping out’ is to dance with a rainbow-coloured ribbon during worship – a huge step for me but I’m doing it because someone has put courage in me.)
God does this. He tells me I am hidden in Jesus – literally hidden in His perfection. I am loved and accepted by the Father who sings loudly and exuberantly over me and dances around me because I am His.
Encouragement in Jesus? Oh yes!