New Year’s instructions from Philippians

Philippians: 3:12-14, 2:14-15 Anchor Text

Our culture has wired us to re-evaluate things at the beginning of the year. We all know that the New Year is an arbitrary time in the big picture of life. But we do need to occasionally think deeper and the New Year is a good time to do it. It’s healthy to take an occasional look under the hood.

So, it seems we have this default setting to start over during the New Year. Change, which is absolutely essential, seems less violent to our systems and is more palatable even welcomed because of this social programming for the New Year.  

In light of this reality, and because this is the first Sunday of 2019, let me ask a couple of questions:

  1. Where is God in this New Year? 
  2. Where are you?

What if the answer to both of those questions was the same place? What if you could advance into this year knowing that you and God were exactly in step? How would it change the way you attacked situations, approached challenges and navigated difficulties in the New Year?  And they will come! 

Now you may say no Dr. Brassfield we are not in the same place. We are on totally different pages, wavelengths. Maybe you honestly feel a million miles apart. 

Well, I want to give you four critical shifts from the book of Philippians that are guaranteed to put you in step with God this year. When you are in step with God your success is unquestionable and unstoppable. I’m a coach so let me coach you for a few minutes this morning. 

These are lessons we learn from the Epistle to The Philippians written by the Apostle Paul: 

Philippians 1: 3-6

  1. You need to Master your memories. So much of our time is wasted reliving our memories in movies in our minds. Moments of pain, moments of defeat. Moments when we were at our worst. Mistakes, failures. Be careful how much attention you pay to social media. That stuff is not real. 

I have always been amazed how Paul in Philippians chapter 1 says, “I Thank God upon every remembrance of you…”. Wait Paul what about the caneing and many stripes of Acts 16? What about the singing at the midnight hour from prison? You remember Philippi… It wasn’t so easy! But, Paul had learned to master his memory.  He would later say, in Philippians chapter 4:8. “Think of these things”… 

  1. Focus on Eternity. We are distracted with so many things that mean so little in the big scope of things. Learning what is really important will help you live a life that is purposeful and satisfied. I have always heard we tend to move toward what we are focused on. My driving is a prime example of that. 

In Philippians chapter 1:19-26 Paul says that he is in step with Jesus Christ. If I live, He lives. Think about the power of this statement! This year choose to be a reflection of His presence in any and every situation you find yourself. Determine as Paul did, ‘to live is Christ, to die is gain’. 

  1. Live to Serve. Philippians chapter 2 is the grand service passage. Jesus came to serve and sacrifice. Believe it or not, the surest pathway to satisfaction is in a life of service to others. It’s the Jesus way. No one in the Kingdom is called to lead. We are all called to serve. I like to say it this way. It is much easier to train a servant to lead than to train a leader to serve. You were born to serve! Find your peace this year in your service. Quit being a consumer Christian. God didn’t call, you to be a scorekeeper or a fruit inspector or a sermon evaluator. He called you to lay your life down and pick up a towel and get busy; someone is suffering; someone needs prayer; someone is desperate.  Your job is not to see if someone can bless you, you job is to be a blessing! (We are worshiping you). Don’t make 2019 about worshiping you! Worship God by serving someone else! 
  1. Pursue your Purpose. Think about this, if you pursue everything you’ll be running in a hundred different directions. You can’t pursue everything. Everyone here has a purpose born in the heart of God. You are not a mistake. You’re not an afterthought. In Chapter 3:12- 14. (read) “That I may lay hold of that for which h Christ Jesus has laid hold of me”. Have a goal. Have a plan. God has a plan for you! Don’t live by accident. Make a plan. (Benny bob’s Redneck firefighters brigade). He who aims at nothing usually hits it. Paul says I press on toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

This year can be the greatest year of your life. But you have to participate. 

Learn to: 

  1. Master your memories.
  2. Focus on Eternity.
  3. Live to serve others.
  4. Pursue your purpose.