I had the privilege to lead on our churches youth camp for the first time. It was so different seeing how things worked behind the scenes but it was so rewarding to serve the youth in a way that the leaders had served me on the past. Leon Stead preached through Philippians over the 5 days, here’s a quick reflection on what I got out of it.
We’re all in this together, as a church following Christ we are in partnership in a shared passion. The world tells us that we need to invest ourselves in a passion that is about us but God’s intended us to be part of something that’s not about us. Our passions are reflected in where we invest our time, money, energy etc. Often we fear that we won’t succeed in our passion but what’s really important should be a fear of succeeding in something that doesn’t matter.
- I was really challenged in this talk to make sure I’m investing my life in things that matter, not self fulfilling things but God glorifying things.
Common-Unity for all in Christ. Unity is being like-minded, one in spirit and purpose and having the same love for one another – following Christs selfless example. Knowing what it looks like isn’t the problem, it’s living it. Living it means we have to put aside all our selfish ambitions and put Christ at the centre of ourselves, to look out for each other instead of ourselves. In all situations: conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel. This kind of community in the church shines in the darkness of the world and brings freedom from conflict and deepens relationships.
- I was challenged to let go of protecting my reputation or self and instead look to how I can look out for other people’s needs.
You don’t need to do anything to belong to God. Paul, who wrote the letter, was once the equivalent of a Pharisee, he followed all the rules laid down and even persecuted Christians who said that these rules didn’t matter anymore. But then when he himself was converted, everything he one held as his highest achievements became a loss, and what he once saw a loss he valued highly. Not only was his life redirected, but everything he believed in was inverted. Holding onto our lives outside of Christ is like sitting in our own excrement and being content – being called as a follower means through sanctification, we are to leave these things behind. We contribute nothing to our relationship with God, it is all through Christ.
- I was challenged to review what I valued most in life and to replace it with Christ.
Live life in light of the destination, have a single minded goal. Forget what you’ve left behind – the sin you were entangled in, repent and give it to God. Follow Christ’s model, don’t go back and live up to what you’ve attained. Jesus is sufficient, we’re not perfect yet (we will be in Christ) but we have a joy and hope.
- I was challenged to work hard at keeping Christ’s coming in my mind, rather than my own constructed destinations.
Day 5 – Philippians 4:2-23
Confidence in Christ, a contentment that brings joy, a joy that is external to yourself. If it was only within yourself it would never satisfy but in Christ, it is everlasting. This joy is manifest in gentleness, the self sacrificial demonstration of love to other people.
Living for Christ is not just about controlling your behaviour it is about controlling your mind and heart, your desires, to bring the things in the front of your mind to God.
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9