** While the main point of this study is to help you dig deeper into Philippians and pick up on certain parts of the book that we aren’t going to cover at the Gathering, another major point of this study is to teach you how to study Scripture on your own regardless of what’s going on at the Gathering. Our goal for you is that you are becoming a spiritual self-starter who longs for and can appropriately seek Jesus and study the Word of God on your own. Anytime you see these stars, it’s me pointing out to you why I’m asking you to do certain things. **
Go read Philippians 1:1-6.
** I know this is like the tenth time you’ve read this passage. Here’s why: Repetition is good for learning. Some people smarter than me say that you won’t really even start to glimpse what a passage is communicating until you’ve read it twenty-five times. Don’t get impatient. Let the Spirit teach you new layers of understanding as you meditate daily on His Word. You’ll also notice that memorization and meditation become natural processes of reading instead of forced habits. **
Now go reread vs. 3 and 4.
<> What are the two main words in this passage that reveal Paul’s attitude?
<> What is the spiritual discipline that Paul is talking about in this passage?
<> What is your predominant attitude when you pray?
Too often we get stuck thinking that sin is action-based solely. This is not the case. Sin is any attitude, thought, word or action that is dishonoring to God. In other words you can sin in and with your heart, your mind, your mouth and/or your hands. Essentially the attitude of our heart determines the thoughts of our minds. Both of these are revealed by our untamed-mouths and eventually birth either selfish action by our hands or God-honoring service and love with our hands.
<> Do you regularly talk to Jesus about your attitude, thoughts and words?
<> How are you careful about what you say, and what do your words reveal about you?
(For clarity, go read James 1:26 and James 3:2-12)
<> Is your thought life Godly?
(That means more than sexually pure. Do you think about Jesus and His grace and presence and desires for your life regularly? Do you have a “quiet time” and then ignore Jesus for the whole day and not think about Him at all?)
Our Attitude in Prayer
<> Think about your prayer life for a couple of minutes: What do you pray about? What areas of your life do you pray about most often? What do you ask God for? When do you pray? How often do you pray?
<> Now try to think about the tone with which you pray: Do you complain most of the time when you talk to God? Do you beg Him for things that He doesn’t want for you? Do you question God in a disrespectful way?
Go read Philippians 1:3-4 again.
** Yes I’m still reinforcing the repetition idea. **
<> How does Paul’s attitude in prayer differ from your own?
<> What does Paul’s attitude in prayer reveal about his attitude toward God?
<> What does Paul’s attitude in prayer reveal about his attitude toward prayer?
Ultimately Paul is thankful and joyful when he prays because he knows that he doesn’t deserve the right to pray. Paul doesn’t think that he’s entitled to come into Holy God’s presence and talk to Him. Paul cherishes the opportunity. He’s thankful. He prays with joy because he trusts that almighty God listens and acts on His children’s behalf. It’s a pretty amazing opportunity to get to talk to the God of the universe about your problems. It’s amazing enough that we should check our attitude as we approach.
And then, when we’ve repented from our prideful complaining attitudes, we run with humble urgency to the throne of our Father who loves us.