“Focus On One Goal” ( Philippians 2: 1 – 2, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

Paul asks us — as Christians — to “focus on one goal.” Our single goal is to “make [our] own attitudes that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2: 5) Christ, though equal with God the Father, empties Himself and takes on “the likeness of men,” humbling Himself “by becoming obedient to the point of death.” (Philippians 2: 6 – 8) Jesus surrenders His place of glory for “the interests of others.” (Philippians 2: 4)

Paul asks us to be and do the same as Jesus — reminding us that we have “encouragement in Christ.” We have “consolation of love.” We have “fellowship with the Spirit.” We have “affection and mercy.” Given these, we also should think like one another, share the same love as one another, share the same feelings as one another and focus on that single goal of being like Jesus.

“But The Lord Is Faithful” (2 Thessalonians 3: 3, HCSB) by Carley Evans

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy inform the church of the Thessalonians that God protects Christians from “wicked and evil men” who do not have faith. In addition, God “strengthens and guards [us] from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3: 2, 3)

God “encourages [our] hearts and strengthens [us] in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 17)

“It is God who is working in [us], enabling [us] both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2: 13) Therefore, we are to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2: 12)

Why in fear and trembling? Perhaps because we live in a “crooked and perverted generation among whom [we] shine like stars in the world.” (Philippians 2: 15) Perhaps because the evil one prowls among us like a “roaring lion” wishing to consume us. He actively searches for “anyone he can devour.” (1 Peter 5: 8)

Peter tells us that “the God of all grace, who calls [us] to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, personally restores, establishes, strengthens, and supports [us] after [we] suffer a little. The dominion belongs to Him forever.” (1 Peter 5: 10 – 11)

Therefore, let us continue in faith, knowing that it is God who upholds us. He sees us through every obstacle and His plans do not fail.

“Stand Firm In One Mind” (Philippians 4: 8, ESV) by Carley Evans

Paul calls us to be renew our minds by meditating on truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, commendation, excellence — “if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Paul asks us to “complete [his] joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2: 2) He desires us to “stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1: 27)

He knows that we have not been made “already perfect, but” that we “press on to make it [our] own, because Christ Jesus has made [us] His own.” Paul writes, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 12, 13 – 14)

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 4 – 7)

Strive in one spirit and one mind, side by side.

“Go Out In Joy” (Philippians 2: 14 – 16, ESV) by Carley Evans

How do we become blameless and pure and shine like stars in a crooked and depraved generation? Paul says we become such by “doing all things without grumbling or questioning” and by “holding fast to the Word of Life.”

If we hold fast or cling to the Word of God, then we are prepared in every situation so that in a sense nothing surprises us. We are never caught off guard. If we hold fast to God’s Word, then we have no cause to question, complain, grumble about our circumstances.

Paul writes for us to “rejoice in the Lord.” He calls us not to a life of complaining, grumbling, arguing, back-biting, envying, striving, hating, cheating, lying, self-loathing; but to a life of rejoicing in the Lord. We of all people are to be joyful.

“For you shall go out in joy.” (Isaiah 55: 12)

“Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16: 22)