Let’s look at a passage from the apostle Paul (along with Timothy) to the saints in Philippi. In Philippians 2 and let’s begin reading in verse 1.
In this passage Paul tells us about a distinguishing trait of Jesus that we read about over and over in the scriptures. That characteristic is humility.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls.
The Bible reveals to us on a frequent basis that we should follow Jesus' example of being humble in our service to God. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:5 to -- Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Jesus speaking in Luke 14:11 says -- For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
James shares with us in James 4:10 -- Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
We read many times in the book of Proverbs the benefits and rewards from God in being humble and His displeasure with those who are full of boastful pride, conceit, and arrogance. One example is in Proverbs 16:18 which says -- Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. In Proverbs 11:2 we see -- When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom. Again, In Proverbs 29:23 we read -- A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.
Again, as we have read in the book of Philippians Jesus demonstrated his humility over and over again in His teachings and the life he lived while here on earth as our example.
These are just a few of the many scriptures regarding the importance of humility in our lives as Christians.
Preparation is important in all walks of life. To use an old and true adage … Plan the work and work the plan. Planning begins early in our life as we prepare for our future.
What are our goals regarding?
- Obeying and listening to our parents’ instruction as children regarding their experiences.
- Preparation for school.
- Who do we choose as our friends and how are they best selected?
- What am I comfortable doing based on my knowledge and experiences, and how will that influence my choice of a vocation later in life?
- If I decide to further my education, where will I go for college instruction, and how will I prepare to be accepted?
- How will I prepare to best serve God?
We all make choices regarding these and other goals and objectives, and a great deal of preparation is involved in order to make wise decisions.
The scriptures give us guidance regarding preparation in Matthew 25 beginning in verse 1. In this passage, Jesus shares the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Here, the kingdom of heaven is described as being comparable to ten virgins (5 wise and 5 foolish) who went out to meet the bridegroom. Those who were prepared were wise and took extra oil for their lamps to the wedding feast, but the foolish came unprepared and did not. The bridegroom came while those who did not take extra oil were away to purchase more, the doors were shut, and they were not allowed in.
Let’s review a few more scriptures along these same lines …
- The apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.
- Again, the apostle Peter encourages us in 1 Peter 5:8 – Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
- Finally, the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10 and 11 – To be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God so you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
In summary, we see the importance of being prepared. As we continue to do God’s will and grow in our faith and knowledge of His word … let’s remember to be alert, ready, and put on the full armor of God so we will be prepared to stand against the schemes of the devil; and stand up for God, Jesus, and the Word of God in our lives as Christians.
Prayer is one of the most important ways we communicate with God. The significance of prayer can be seen throughout the Bible through many examples. We, as Christians fully believe in prayer and have faith that our prayers are heard by God and answered - according to his will.
Jesus prays many times in the New Testament and His examples are always important to us as our Saviour
The gospel of John contains Jesus’ longest recorded prayer in John chapter 17. The whole chapter is dedicated to a prayer of Jesus addressed to God and occurs immediately before His betrayal and crucifixion. Here, Jesus asks God to bless his disciples and asks that they might be perfected in truth, unity, and love.
It’s interesting to note that even though Jesus’ suffering is at hand and many events are on his mind regarding this, he is thinking and focused on others. I believe this is a great example of love and how our thoughts should be focused on others and their well-being in our prayers.
The power of prayer is shared in the gospel of Luke as well as other gospels
Jesus tells us in Luke 11:9-10: So, I say to you, ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened.
The apostle Paul often prays for disciples he writes to in his epistles. In addition, he gives us instructions and help on how to pray and what to pray for.
In Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In Thessalonians 5:16-18: Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Finally, the apostle John tells us in 1 John 5:14-15 … This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
We see the importance of prayer in many examples throughout the Bible. I’ve only mentioned a few here that come to mind. There are many examples for us in the OT as well as the NT. A search tells us there are over 600 different prayers in the Bible.
Among them are prayers from: Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Job. In addition, King David and King Solomon. Also, prophets such as Elijah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. These are all from the Old Testament.
In the New testament, prayers from the apostles such as Peter, James, John, and the apostle Paul come to mind, as well as prayers from our saviour, Jesus Christ.
In summary, thoughts we can take away from these examples include:
- Pray without ceasing … In essence, place God first in our lives, and direct our mind and thoughts continually towards God as the creator and ask for His guidance in all things.
- Give thanks and praise to God for all blessings. It is He who gave us life and all we have is due to God’s love for us. God requests and anticipates our prayers and thanks to Him through Jesus.
- Confess our sins in our prayers. The apostle John tells us in First John 1: 9-10, If we confess our sins, He is faithful to cleanse us. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
- Pray for others and focus on the well being of our brothers and sisters. This goes to love which is so important to God. Over and over the Bible teaches us to be humble, and consider the well being of others in our lives as Christians.
- Pray that God’s will be done in all things. Jesus gives us the example of this in Luke 22:42. Jesus’ prayer to God is that, If You are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but Thine be done.
As we continue to do God’s will and grow in faith and knowledge of His word … let’s remember to pray as the Bible instructs us and use the power of prayer in our lives as Christians. This is God’s will and is laid out so clearly for us in His word. Following His teachings regarding prayer will help us to grow in our faith, hope, and love, and in our ability to communicate with Him, and walk with God and please and obey Him in our lives.