Reframe Your Interests

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Fear Doesn't Stop You
We see in the letter to Philippi that Paul has been so captivated by the gospel that he's holding nothing back. It's all on the table for the Lord to use. He is fully interested in and commited to what Jesus is interested in. What's keeping you held back from the life that God is inviting you into? What's keeping you held back from taking that bold step of faith? What's holding you back from serving, from giving, from pouring your life out? You are called to be all in and say, “Jesus, you have my full attention in every moment, in every situation, regardless of my past or my fears.” Jesus would love to take away whatever fear you are holding onto if you will only let him. If you want to experience the blessedness of God, focus your life on the interests of Christ, gather it all up, and put it all in on the table and say that God gets everything you have to offer.  Your calling from God will not be the same as Timothy, Epaphroditus, or Paul. Timothy helped serve lots of different churches and volunteered his time to help them. Paul planted churches and became a pastor, and Epaphroditus served food and helped people in prison. It will likely be different for you. There's a infinite range of possibilities where God may have you go, but you won’t know until you give him your full attention; whatever he asks, whatever it costs, with no fear and no limits.  Turn your eyes upon Jesus and don't let your situation limit you. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and don't let your past define you. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and don't let fear stop you. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Seek after not your own interests, but the interests of Jesus Christ and just watch what happens. Reflection/Discussion Question: What is holding you back from embracing where God is calling you? 
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Your Past Doesn't Define You
In your past, you may have some things in your past you really regret. You may have some things in your past you're really proud of. You may have some things in your family of origin that have made it really easy for you to succeed. You may have some things in your family of origin that have made it really difficult for you to get ahead. You may have a strong spiritual legacy to build off of, or you may be starting from nothing, spiritually speaking, in your life. Probably it's a mixture of all of this though, right? But when your attention is fully on Jesus, when his gospel has transformed you, when Christ is leading you to be a blessing to others, when you have eyes to see the world like Jesus sees it, your past does not define you. Jesus has washed your past clean; he has taken it away and given you a new foundation to build on. When you accept Jesus as your savior, God no longer sees your sins or your past when he looks at you because of the sacrifice of his beloved Son on the cross. This means you are no longer tied to the guilt that sin wants to keep you bound to, and you are free to live without any shame over the past. God wants to use you in extraordinary ways, and you won't be able to fully embrace where he is calling you to go without letting go of the past. Your past doesn't define you. Jesus defines you when your attention is fully on him!  Reflection/Discussion Question: What in your past have you let define you instead of letting Jesus define you?
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Your Situation Doesn't Limit You
Timothy had gone through a lot with Paul as his friend and companion. Timothy had been with Paul on the edge of death. Timothy had been around Paul when he's been kicked out of cities. Timothy had been around Paul when there have been riots. But what happens? The gospel still moves forward. These are just new opportunities. Paul is never stopped by any of these circumstances because Jesus has his full attention. A jail isn't really a jail - it's just a new venue. The first time Paul was in Philippi, he got thrown in prison and there was an earthquake that broke him out. Then the jailer ended up hearing the gospel and got baptized. That's the frame of mind that Paul has. Paul and Timothy both know and understand that no situation is too toug and no obstacle is too big, that it can't become an opportunity when Jesus has your full attention. No situation is limited when Jesus has your full attention, because no matter where you sit and what surrounds you, the gospel has power to break through that sitaution. The power of the gospel can work in and through you, no matter the situation, to make an incredible difference in the lives of the people around you. Your situation is not a limitation. It's just an opportunity for God to show his riches in a new way. You are an asset to the kingdom of God, and the church isn't the same unless we have all kinds of different people in all kinds of different life phases working together to make a difference together. No matter what your situation might be, when your attention is fully on Jesus, your situation is not a limitation. It can be an opportunity for God to show up in a new way. Reflection/Discussion Question: What situation in your life might be wanting God to use as an opportunity to spread his love and grace?
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Genuine Concern
The apostle Paul makes it a point in the book of Philippians to make it known that Timothy has genuine concern for people. He's been saved by Jesus, and that leads to a concern for others. If we look at verse 21 of Philippians 2, we see in this passage what Paul says about Timothy: Everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ; implying that Timothy is the opposite. Timothy is looking out for the interests of Jesus Christ. The phrase “looks out for everyone” comes from a single Greek word, and it's a word that implies an active seeking. It's a seeking after something; it's not just being aware, it's looking for it. It's the same word that's used in Luke 19:10 when it says that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Jesus is actively seeking. And here, Timothy is actively seeking the interests of Jesus. He's not just passively curious about what Jesus is interested in. He's actively seeking it out.  Here's another way to say this: Jesus doesn't just want your salvation. He wants your attention. He wants your attention because he knows if this really changes you deep inside, it's going to change what you see. It's going to change what you look at. It's going to change what you seek after. And when that starts to happen, everything around you gets reframed in a whole new light. Jesus doesn't just want your salvation. He wants your attention.  Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus are all interested. These guys are interested in what Jesus is interested in. Jesus has their full attention, so their interests have been totally reframed. And through this letter, Paul is inviting us to do the same.  Reflection/Discussion Questions: What are you actively seeking in life? Are you seeking the things of Jesus?