Philippians | Day Six
By: Taylor Flatt
Have you ever been encouraged by someone that you admire?
Encouragement is a real game changer. You can be having an awful day, ready to quit and give up, until a few encouraging words turn your day upside down and remind you to stay in the game. Encouragement is powerful and inspiring. And our friend Paul knows how to encourage powerfully.
Today, as we pick back up in the book of Philippians, you’ll find Paul talking about some of his friends — men whom he believes deserve to be honored for the way that they’ve served Christ.
Paul spends much of this section in his letter encouraging two of his friends whom he believes are great examples of the things he’s been talking about throughout the letter so far. He’s not only encouraging them, but he’s also pointing to them as men to be followed.
However, because this part of the letter is incredibly personal and specific to the Philippians it might be easy for us to dismiss it as inapplicable to our lives. But I promise you that there’s more to learn here. Check it out with me.
Read Philippians 2:19-30.
What qualities does Paul acknowledge in Timothy and Epaphroditus?
How do the qualities he commends in them relate to what he’s been talking about so far in this letter?
They were both selfless. They gave to others without regard for their own interests. Over and over again, Paul has reminded the Philippians that truly living is not living for yourself and according to these verses, Timothy and Epaphroditus were truly living.
These men are held up as examples to follow and not just for the Philippian church, but for us too.
So as simply as I can make it today, I have a few questions that I want you to think about and ask yourself after reading this passage from Philippians.
Do you have people in your life like Timothy and Epaphroditus? If so, who are they? How have they specifically influenced you?
You might know from previous stories that you’ve read in the Bible, but Timothy and Paul were very close. Timothy watched Paul in life and ministry and imitated him as he followed Christ.
Timothy had an example to follow and became an example to follow.
We need people in our lives who are examples of Christ—people we can follow. Someone older, wiser, a life-stage ahead of you! We don’t have to plan a time to meet every week at Starbucks or go through a book together. Just spend some time getting to know someone older and wiser than you —someone who has walked with Jesus a little longer. Follow them as they follow Christ.
On the flipside though, what kind of example are you setting?
Just like Timothy became an example because he had an example, you can become the example for someone else. In fact, whether it be good or bad, you probably are already influencing someone.
What kind of example are you setting? Is it the kind of example that someone could point to and recommend to be followed?
If you’re living for yourself, chances are you aren’t setting a very good example for your brothers and sisters in Christ to follow. Living selflessly means thinking about the kind of example that you’re setting and adjusting it so that you can impact someone’s life for the better.
Who are you encouraging?
Encouragement can turn someone’s world upside down. It’s powerful because your words are powerful. One of the best ways to live selflessly is to use your words selflessly. Spend less time talking about yourself and more time talking about others — and not in a negative way! Build up your brothers and sisters in Christ because in doing so you are building up the Church!
Spend some time thinking about those three questions today. And then act on them! Use your words to encourage someone. Lead by example and keep looking out for the joy of others and living selflessly — that’s how you’ll truly live today!