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“The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, more important than angels. In himself, nothing; in God everything. That is his motto.” A.W. Tozer in God’s Pursuit of Man
Choose how you will dine with your Lord today:
Read Philippians Chapter 2 (Fast Food)
Read Philippians Chapter 2 (Home Cooking)
Read Philippians Chapters 1-4 (Fine Dining)
As you read, again make note of any keywords or reflections as the Lord speaks to your heart.
Honor through Humility-Philippians Chapter 2:25-30
Paul uses five descriptions to let us know the person, Epaphroditus. Who is Epaphroditus? (2:25) Paul’s brother, coworker, fellow soldier, the Philippian’s messenger and minister to Paul’s need.
Why does Paul think it necessary to send Epaphroditus? (2:26) He has been longing for the Philippians and has been distressed because they heard he was sick.
How sick was Epaphroditus? (2:27)
Why did Epaphroditus not die? (2:27b)
What was significant about showing Paul mercy through saving Epaphroditus? (2:27b) Paul did not have one grief on top of another. Here Paul was suffering in prison for his fellow believers and then if one of the people he was suffering for died, it would make him all the more upset. Paul would rather give his own life than to have Epaphroditus die. As a mother, I too would rather die than to have my children die.
What are the two reasons Paul wants to send Epaphroditus back? (2:28)
What does Paul tell the Philippians they should do when they see him? (2:29)
What else does Paul tell the Philippians to do? (2:29b)
Why should they hold men like him in honor? (2:30)
Ponder with me now regarding this issue of being honored. It has now been mentioned for the third time within Philippians. The first was Paul speaking of himself when he said in Philippians 1:20 that Christ would be highly honored in his body because Paul was placing Christ above himself. The second mention is in Philippians 2: 9 where Paul is explaining how Christ humbled Himself and when He did, God exalted and honored Christ by giving Him the name that is above all names. The third mention we find of honor is here in Philippians 2:29 in regards to Epaphroditus. Paul is telling the Philippians they should honor Epaphroditus and men like him. We see a common thread through each of these instances.
Paul was in prison because he was living a life that was totally sold out to Christ’s work through him.
Christ died because he was living a life that was totally sold out to God’s work through him.
Epaphroditus was distressed because he was living a life that was totally sold out to a life reflecting Christ’s character of love and compassion through him.
Each of these men were not doing anything out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility they were considering others as more important than themselves (Philippians 2:3). While they were taking care of themselves physically and not intentionally neglecting themselves, they were looking out for the interest of others (Philippians 2:4). It is these selfless acts that God chooses to honor and raise up above everything else. The illustration was given in church this past Sunday of a trampoline. When you jump on a trampoline you know how high you are going to go in the air based on how low the bottom of the trampoline sinks. When you go low, Christ raises you higher and God is given greater honor and glory. We are only the vessels He chooses to use. May our prayer today echo that of A.W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God:
“Lord, make me childlike. Deliver me from the urge to compete with another for place or prestige or position. I would be simple and artless as a little child. Deliver me from pose and pretense. Forgive me for thinking of myself. Help me to forget myself and find my true peace in beholding Thee. That Thou may answer this prayer I humble myself before Thee. Lay upon me Thy easy yoke of self-forgetfulness that through it I may find rest. Amen.”