A Lesson From Paul
As Paul writes his letter to the Philippians, he thanks them for their care package (Phil 4:15; 18) and encourages them to continue growing in their faith. While expressing gratitude towards the Philippians, Paul is not focused on the fact that he’s under house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:16; 30) and awaiting execution, yet focused on his purpose and why he’s there in the first place. What was Paul’s purpose? Strengthening the Philippians by showing them that true joy comes from Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1: 22-26, “As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.”
In a practical sense, it’s challenging not to focus on your problems especially when you feel you are the only one who has them and no one understands what you are going through. Giving so much attention on your problems does not allow room to channel your energy on lessons learned from the problems let alone on life’s purpose. Having to redirect your attention on what really matters requires a conscious effort to shift your thinking (Phil. 4:8) so that when the challenge is over, you reemerge as someone with a purpose. But what is your purpose and how do you know what it is? If you want to know your purpose in life, ask God.
Matthew 7: 7-12 (NIV), “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Why do you ask? Because God already has the plan.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
When you humble yourself and submit to God, be vulnerable enough to hear him so that God can share his plan (purpose) for your life. Once you know the purpose God has destined for you, the next step is to channel your time an energy on nurturing that purpose. Anytime you are dealing with a problem, shift your attention from problem to purpose.
When you take care of God’s business, He will take care of yours.