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In boxing there is a combination of 3 power punches, used especially in close confinement, where your opponent is ‘getting in your face’. It is the right cross – left hook – right cross.
Paul ends his letter to the Philippians leaving us impacted with 3 power punches to our lives. Locked in close confinement, in prison, yet keeping a good attitude Paul has more than enough authority to speak on these topics we will touch on today!
The first right cross is revolutionise your life through your attitude. He then comes in with the left hook – be utterly transformed by what you think on. His final punch, leaving his audience reeling with new life is the right cross of ‘ridiculous faith’. In fact all 3 naturally speaking could be perceived as a ridiculous way to live, yet if we do, the outcome is a ridiculously different and world changing life.
Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement… 4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:2-7
- RIDICULOUS ATTITUDE
The way we behave determines our influence. A ‘big’ person behaves ‘big’.
– lose your temper and you become smaller
– keep your cool when others would lose it, you become bigger
– talk about yourself non-stop you become smaller
– ask questions of others you become bigger
– withhold – become smaller
– give away – become bigger
Paul is in prison, unfairly, beaten, shipwrecked, spoken against, he has faced having little and having plenty… and he says, effectively, “It’s all good!”
Some of us have got our attitudes twisted for way, way less. Perspective!
But that’s ridiculous! That person was totally unreasonable. How do you expect me to smile at that. They need to apologise. Paul simply says “Settle your disagreement”. Keep a great attitude however ridiculous it sounds. Your life will be bigger and better for it.
Be considerate. Think before you speak, be slow to get angry, have a preference for patience and love. To who Paul – the jailor? Yes that’s a good start! Perspective!
Then Paul lets us into the secret of his great attitude. He says don’t worry, instead pray. Many people’s problems with others comes down to a lack of working it through with God. If worried or upset, offended, go to God, deal with it, get God on it, give thanks, see perspective, let Him in and come out of your prayer zone with a shifted attitude.
Always be full of joy. But that’s ridiculous! Maybe, but it might just make a difference, in fact, a ridiculous difference to your life and outcomes!
Notice he says – “Always be full of joy in the Lord.” In other words ‘rejoice’. Rejoice means to express a feeling of joy. How can you feel joy about everything? You can’t! But you can in Him. In Him there is endless amounts to be joy filled about and therefore rejoice.
I am in prison, oh joy! (note the down-tone here!) But a chance to preach the gospel – joy!
I have nothing, oh joy! But my God has supplied my needs – joy!
I am alone, oh joy! But Epaphroditus has moved in – joy!
The words joy or rejoice appear 15 times in the letter. Joy stops us going down the unnecessarily argumentative route, it stops us being grumpy. Rejoice – its a choice.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your THOUGHTS on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. THINK about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
2. RIDICULOUS THINKING
Your thoughts and the atmosphere of your mind will determine the outcomes of your life. You become what your mind feeds on. What you regularly see in your mind is what you will become.
* A beautiful mind is a beautiful life.
Fill your mind with junk, it comes out in your life
Fill your mind with the ‘same old’, you get the ‘same old’
Our minds were made for purity, positivity, praise. They were never meant to go down certain paths.
God said to Abraham – keep looking at the sand and the stars – remind yourself that you will be the father of many descendants. Fill your mind with future. Jacob put spotted and speckled branches in front of the sheep and they gave birth to spotted and speckled lambs. What we look at works itself out in our lives.
Your mind is the seed bed of your future
What you see is what you will get
Who you see is who you will become
The attitude of your mind will determine the attitude of your life
Ensure your mind is correcting toward purity, positivity and praise and you will find your life moving regularly on this course
How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty….
18 At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:10-19
3. RIDICULOUS FAITH
“Not that I was ever in need” What Paul! You had absolutely nothing, you didn’t know where the next meal would come from, you faced a possible death sentence … “Yeah but I learnt the art of contentment”
That’s ridiculous – “yeah maybe but look what its enabled me to achieve!”
How could he live like this? You don’t understand – I have bills piling up, my doctor has given me a terrible report – it would be ridiculous to be content!
This is where FAITH comes in – whose report will you believe?
verse 19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs
What side will you live on? Lack? or Supply?
What do you believe and who do you believe
God or circumstances – whose report will you believe?
* Your life will be a mirror image of your belief system.
There are always two sides – I have nothing… Or I have a Supplier – both are true but where will you live?
As we learn to live on the side of faith, we grow in a deep understanding that God has your life covered. When we live in this mindset we become content even though our circumstances may not look favourable.
Our goal is not to live a pain-free Christianity but a God-proving Christianity – your life can be a living, walking proof of God’s goodness and provision.
Paul had made choices that had transformed his life – that is why we must take notice – be joyful, be considerate, pray, think on the right things, live by faith and not by circumstances! However, ridiculous it may seem, the life you will have will be ridiculously fruitful as a result.