Philippians chapter one teaches us to: 1. Remember the Good Times, 2. Recall Ways People Have Helped Me and 3. Learn to Appreciate the Growth in People.
Here are 3 More Ways to Enjoy the People in My Life:
Develop A Deep Concern and Care For People
Paul explains how:
7a It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart… 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
He had people “in his heart.”
- “If people are not on your heart they will be on your nerves.” Rick Warren
One reason marriages struggle with conflict is that mates are reacting to each other from their mind rather than their heart. When your wife says, “I feel down” listen to her; it’s legitimate. When your husband says, “I don’t feel this is the right thing we ought to do.” Listen to him. Listening and loving from the heart hears the hurt behind the words.
Heart love begins with understanding, knowing why they feel that way. Why does the guy at work act like such a jerk? Maybe you don’t know the background he grew up in. Maybe he’s tons better than he used to be ten years ago. Hear the hurt, look for the problems, know what makes your mate tick. Its difficult to love someone you don’t understand. Understanding them makes it easy (or easier). Seek to understand the moods of the people closest around you, why they act the way they do. If you care, you’ll be aware.
If heart love begins with understanding, how do you get understanding? By asking questions and then listening. What a comfort it is to know that someone fully understands you.
How do you love those people that even when you do understand them, they are unlovable? “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:8
Human love wears out and dries up. This happens to everybody. The only kind of love that lasts and lasts in spite of heartache and difficulty in tough circumstances is God’s love — the affection of Jesus Christ. That’s the only kind of love that lasts.
In order to have a deep concern and care for people you have to stay plugged into Jesus Christ. He will give you the ability to care when your care is gone, he will give you concern when your concern is gone.
For example let say you are at home. I know this is a stretch; but your spouse is on your nerves not on your heart. I know, I know, not likely but just pretend! What do you do? You pray, “Jesus help me to love my spouse, give me your love, mine is gone! I am feeling like I hate their guts but I want to love them.” The same scenario could be played out five minutes later with your kids, or the next day with a co-worker. We need to realize our limitations and plug into the “affection of Jesus Christ.”
Life is too short to not enjoy the people in your life. If you don’t learn to enjoy the people that God has placed around you in your life you will be miserable. It takes God’s help to make it possible for people to be on your heart instead of on your nerves.
The next way…
Pray for People in Positive Ways
I want to challenge you to a new level spiritually. Instead of griping about someone, pray about him or her to God! Instead of complaining about them, try praying for them. This is what we see makes a difference in Paul’s attitude. We are even to pray about our enemies. We will see Paul do this and we know Jesus did. Prayer is a key to joy and hope.
Prayer will do at least two things: it will change your attitude (for the better) and it will change the person. Positive praying is much more powerful than positive thinking.
- People may ignore my opinions, reject my feelings and refuse to listen to me but they are powerless against my prayers.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9
There is an entire message right here in these few verses about what Paul prayed for, what these things mean and so on. I am not even going to get into this but when you say to somebody, “I’ll pray for you”, what do you say in prayer? What do you pray? “God, bless them?” That’s so general. Look how specific this prayer is of Paul’s. I have a list of how to pray for people based on the prayers of Paul it and it is amazing to me how specific he is.
You could study the prayers of Paul to see how to pray for people but you could also just be aware of how general we can be and the challenge to you is to be specific when you pray for people. I know we can be REAL specific about what bugs us about people. Why not be specific about how God can work in their life?
From the verses above, here are four things Paul prays for other people. You can pray these for people in your life and you can know that they’ll be answered because they are God’s will. They are in the Bible.
- Pray that they will grow in love. “… abound in love …” means to overflow, like a tidal wave.
- Pray that they make wise choices. “… discern what is best…
- Pray that they will do the right thing. “… be pure and blameless…” and have a clear conscious.
- Pray that they will live for God’s glory. “… the fruit of righteousness.”
And lastly the glue that holds all of this together is…
Trust Jesus in Everything
- Jesus and God are used 13 times in these 11 verses.
You can’t read this and not see how much Paul depends on Jesus; he uses his name with every sentence. Have you ever known someone who repeats phases, like “Um” “you know” “cool,” “dude” or ”conduit”(Bob) “sprinkle”(Laura) “your momma” Shanklin “Last time I was in Holy Land”(Lewis). Paul repeats “JESUS” like this, not in an annoying way or a thoughtless way but in a way that we see Jesus is what gives Paul the strength the joy, the purpose and reason for living. We can see that…
- The key to joy is a relationship with Jesus Christ. A relationship with Jesus makes our other relationships better!
- Here are the 13 references to Jesus…
- I am a Servant of Jesus Christ (1a)
- I am in Jesus (1b)
- I have Grace from Jesus (2a)
- I have Peace from Jesus (2b)
- I am Thankful to God (3)
- Jesus Began a Good Work in me (6a)
- Jesus Will Complete the Good Work in me (6b)
- God can Support me (8a)
- I can Love with the Affection of Jesus (8b)
- I have a Righteousness from Jesus (11a)
- I can give Praises to God (11b)
I hope these can be personal to you as well. This is what Jesus is or can become to you.
If you have had a psychology class, you may remember this name, Abraham Maslow. He was a psychologist and some say one of the great intellects of the 20th century. Ever since Freud, psychologists and psychiatrists focused all their attention on people who were mentally unbalanced and sick. They figured these neurotic patients could reveal the forces that shape human development.
Dr. Maslow took an entirely different approach. Instead of sick people, he studied people who were vitally alive and fully functioning. He wanted to know what made them radiantly happy and whole.
In the process, Maslow developed a theory he called “self-actualization. In his search for what made people self-actualized and happy, he found this secret: He writes, “WITHOUT EXCEPTION, I found that every person who was sincerely happy, radiantly alive, was living for a purpose or a cause beyond himself.”
As I close out this post, let me ask, are you living for a purpose or cause beyond yourself? I would like to invite you to be a part of the greatest purpose in all eternity to know Jesus and make him known. This is why the world was created; it is what will be celebrated in eternity.
For more about the series, Hope Again or to watch messages, go to www.RidgeFellowship.com