Happy Friday, sweet friends! I’m SO glad it’s Friday! It’s hard to be a night own and an early bird in the same skin. After a while it catches up to you – and so it has. So, yipee – yi- yay, it’s FRIDAY!
Before we get into today’s study, I want to thank you sweet ladies for your prayers and encouraging words. I really could feel the love! You girls loved on me like Paul loved on the Philippian church! Thank you!
Today, we’re going to talk a bit about love and a bit more about fear. Love sets you free, fear places you in bondage. Love laces life with joy. Fear paralyzes people and perplexes purpose. Our study today will show us two diametrically opposed ends of the spectrum.
Begin today’s study by reading Philippians 1:7-14.
1. What words did Paul use to describe the way he felt about the Philippian church in verses 7-8?
2. Do you love the church like Paul did?
3. Paul’s prayer for the Philippian church (verses 9-11) was birthed from his love for them. Make a list of what Paul prayed for the church at Philippi.
These prayerful verses that grace the pages of holy writ beckon us to love others enough to pray for them like Paul did. One of our greatest expressions of love is displayed when we pray for others to walk in the fullness of God’s love. Many use Paul’s prayer for the Philippians to pray for others. I’ve prayed for family and friends with these very same words.
4. Take a minute and list those you should be praying for like that.
As we continue our study, look again at verses 12-14.
5. Paul was evidently trying to reassure the body of believers in Philippi that he was okay. What was Paul’s perspective?
6. According to verses 13 and 14, what two things occurred as a result of Paul’s imprisonment?
7. How do you think Paul’s circumstances gave other believers the confidence to boldly proclaim the gospel?
I love to read behind those who have gone before me. Those fathers (and mothers) of the faith who blazed a trail through sweat and tears to show us what living by faith is all about. There’s something about seeing the courage of others that creates courage in ourselves.
Fear fleas and faith takes hold when I see that Abraham stepped out in faith and answered God’s call to go to a place that God would show him. When I know someone who has been through some difficult days yet it was obvious that God carried them, it strengthens my resolve and I’m unafraid.
Many of us allow fear to paralyze us – to prevent us from fulfilling God’s call on our lives. But we gain courage when we see others living by faith – even when it’s not easy.
It wasn’t easy for Paul. He was in jail. We read that and sometimes we don’t grasp the gravity of his circumstances. There’s no way to glamorize a jail cell…especially a jail cell during New Testament times.
Paul was hated by many. Betrayed by some. Made fun of, lied about, mocked and treated like trash. Yet he loved anyway.
He leaves us an example of what it means to live out loud in spite of our circumstances. His fearless life teaches us to live life with no fear. The Bible says…
“Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11
Today, God may be calling you to something that is beyond yourself. Something you fear. Maybe it’s teaching – but you’re scarred to death to get in front of people. Perhaps He’s calling you to the mission field, but you’re afraid of change and dealing with a different culture. Maybe He’s calling you to witness to your neighbor, to begin a new ministry, to be a stay at home mom, to volunteering at a local women’s center, to homeschool your children or to mentor another woman. Whatever He’s calling you to do, He is calling from a heart of love.
I think almost everything God has called me to do is something that I’ve feared to some extent. He called me to teach His Word – yet I’ve always feared public speaking. He called me to the mission field and to speak at conferences – yet I’m afraid of flying. But to be honest, I know that God loves me and His plans for me are much better than anything I can plan for myself.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Maybe your afraid of failure, rejection, being laughed at or put on the spot. But I want you to know that if God calls you to do something you have nothing to fear. For it is God who is working in you to fulfill His good pleasure. And if God is calling us – and God is love – then God is calling us from His heart of love for us. So we can rest assured that He has our best interest at heart.
Sweet sister, we don’t have to allow fear to paralyze us anymore. We don’t have to be held captive to our fears and unable to accomplish all God has for us. We will never accomplish all God has for us if we allow fear to steal our dreams. Dreams are small when they’re bound by fear. But dreams are grand when they’re wrapped in love.
Whatever God is calling you to do…whatever He is laying on your heart…you have absolutely nothing to fear! Allow His perfect love to cast out all your fears!
8. Write out what you fear today and lay it at your Savior’s feet. Ask Him to give you the courage you need to fulfill His plan for your life.
No fear, sweet friend. No fear!
I’d love to have you join us in our study of Philippians! You can receive your Bible study in your inbox by clicking this link. Or you can click on the Google or Networkedblog link to receive it in your feeder.