Note: Ken also taught a version of this lesson during his Wednesday Morning Study. The summary description below was originally published there.
Text: Philippians 4
What really matters in your life? When you survey your life’s accomplishments, what would you boast about and be proud of? Some might list particular awards. Others might list athletic or career accomplishments. Others might consider their families, lifestyles, or moral codes. Paul, who was previously a Pharisee, counts his accomplishments, his zeal, and his holiness as “rubbish” compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul earlier revealed (Philippians 1:21–26) that the tension for him is not between the perishable things of the world and the imperishable things of heaven. Rather, he reveals a tension between two enduring things: people and Jesus. He expresses his desire to depart and be with Christ but also his willingness, for the sake of the Philippians, to remain for their encouragement and for their building up, knowing that this too serves the Lord Jesus. He remains to encourage them to take hold of God’s upward call and to press on toward the goal of being like Him in their service and through their suffering. In this way, they may live up to the perfection they’ve attained in Christ that will be made complete when He returns.
Do you have the same attitude? Do you boast about your own life and the things of this world, or is your fixation on Christ and His people? The upward call of God is others-centered. It is to pursue the things that really matter, to live as Christ lived, and to help others do the same.