Week 7 in our series on Paul's letter to the Philippians.
"If I find that my joy is dependent upon anything which can be taken from me, I must correct it." -Martyn Lloyd Jones, The Life of Joy and Peace
Summary: "All Things Rubbish"
"So... what do you do?"
In America, that's the follow-up question to "What is your name?" We are defined by what we do. I'm a pastor. Shelli is a "stay-at-home" mom. You are a _____. These are our qualifications as individuals.
Cultures throughout the world all have their qualifications - standards for acceptance and stature which are nothing more than sewing patterns for fig leaves (Genesis 3:7). The patterns aren't hard to find. Just listen for the question that follows "What is your name?" A friend of mine, who lived in Northern Ireland for a few years, shared a great example of this "pattern revealing" question. There, question #2 was simply "So, which are you then?" (Catholic or Protestant).
Since the Garden, comparative leaf sewing is where the world finds its identity. We restlessly sew according to our various patterns to find security and affirmation. This is a futile and miserable way to live often coming at the expense of others. Just this week the world was gripped by the news of "balloon boy" and, as it turns out, the entire episode may have been intentional - fueled by Richard Heene's desire for fame... for identity.
After holding up Timothy and Epaphroditus as examples of joyful, Christ-following, Trinity-exalting self-sacrifice in Phil. 2:19-30 (listen to the message from week 6 here), Paul now turns to himself and what enabled him to be an example to these men. As one rescued from death through the death of Christ, Paul refused to boast in anything but Christ. He abandoned all his sources of human affirmation and sought fellowship with Christ with a singular focus.
"All Things Rubbish" is a call to drop our sewing needles to find a clear conscience, perfect acceptance, the highest status, the best commendation, a secure future, and, of course, joy in Christ and His righteousness alone. Listen to "All Things Rubbish" here.