My favorite things…

This is not a Christmas song, even though it does talk about snow and packages. However, I like the attitude it presents. In the midst of hard circumstances, be thankful. Look for the blessings.

Paul found things to be thankful for in Philippians 1 despite the fact that he was in prison. And people were bad-mouthing him behind his back. And other people were getting famous by preaching in areas he had pioneered. But rather than becoming jealous and angry at the unfairness of being trapped in a situation, Paul looked towards his goal. He was not preaching to be famous or win followers. He was preaching to make Christ known. And that was happening!

“18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice…

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,…

29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”

It is a radical perspective to consider it a privilege to suffer. Yet people do crazy things when they are in love or want to honor an important person. At one time in history, courtiers fought over the privilege of waiting on the king hand and foot. We make sacrifices for those we love…and I often find that I make them for myself. How far would we go for God? There are people around the world who kiss their families goodbye every day, walk outside as a known Christian, and live their faith no matter what it costs them, even their life.

“21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

God, thank You for favorite things, the sweet blessings of life. Thank You for a perspective outside of the subjective situations of this world. I do not have to fight to keep a perfect life, but can rejoice in how You are proclaimed through the good and the bad times. And You have so much beauty in the world. Thank You! Please help my perspective to focus on the goal of proclaiming You. Amen.

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