This is a bit late, and I could give a myriad of excuses ranging from my little peanut not sleeping well to getting ready for company over the weekend, but really, honestly, I kept putting off this post mostly because I simply did not know what to write. After several re-reads of the chapter along with some reading of commentary and footnotes in my study Bible, I’ll give it a try.
Let me first of all say that I had a major bad attitude for a good part of the weekend, so a lot of what I read was very convicting. I was running on little sleep, we had company, and my little darling seemed to be going through a major growth spurt, which meant CONSTANT eating (and therefore it was very difficult to play hostess!), fussiness (for both of us!) and not a lot of sleep (for either of us!). I was grumpy and impatient and frustrated and just not very pleasant to be around, so I’m praying for forgiveness and help in these areas, as well as feeling convicted by the exhortation to rejoice in the Lord always (jumping ahead to chapter 4, verse 4). Not only should my rejoicing be “always,” it should also be “in the Lord,” meaning my rejoicing is in no way tied to my circumstances. Therefore, I never have an excuse for not rejoicing; the Lord is always with us and never changes, and who He is and what He has done for us is always cause for rejoicing.
Flash back to chapter 1, as a sidenote, I decided to skim the “Themes” part in my study Bible (now that we are 3/4 of the way finished with the letter…woops!), and I found the answer to one of my questions from 2 weeks ago. I was unsure of what was meant in chapter 1, verse 9 about “love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.” My Nelson study Bible says, “…the Greek work for ‘knowledge’ focuses on a person-to-God relationsip, whereas the Greek word for ‘discernment’ points to a person-to-person relationship” and that the words “refer to a relational understanding” (The Nelson Study Bible, copyright 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.). Thus, Paul was telling the Philippians to work on improving their knowledge of and relationships with both God and one another.
I also had trouble understanding part of verse 12 in chapter 3:
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
The part I didn’t understand was “that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Back to my handy dandy study Bible. The footnote said that the Greek word translated “lay hold of” “adds the idea of over-taking by surprise to the sense of seizing some object. Paul urgently wants to ‘grab hold of’ God as God had laid hold of him (Acts 9:1-22). Christ had dramatically and suddenly seized Paul on the road to Damascus, and his life was never the same since” (The Nelson Study Bible, copyright 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
I love the connection to Paul’s conversion experience here. This reminds me of 1 John 4:19: We love him because he first loved us. Paul’s desire to “lay hold of” God is a natural response to God’s initial “laying hold of” Paul during the road to Damascus experience. I think it’s easiest for me to feel and pour out my love for God when it is in response to His demonstration of His love for me. Looking back on the various times when it was easiest to feel and bask in God’s love for me, I am amazed continually at how frequently, creatively, and uniquely He demonstrates His love. This would be a great lesson in “wooing” for the fellas! haha! Seriously though, I am so thankful that He never seems to tire of letting me know how much He loves me and reassuring me of this truth that I have the great joy and pleasure of knowing, deep down.
This was a rather random smattering of just a few verses, but I think I’ll stop there for now. Looking forward to learning more as I study chapter 4!