Paul went from persecuting the church to being a persecuted apostle of the church. After his arrest in Jerusalem, during his first imprisonment, he wrote a letter to the Philippians in which he boldly declared this short but profound line…
We don’t fall out of love. We stop choosing to do things that are loving. So the way back to love is to do the loving things we did early in our relationship. And that often starts with the simple step of paying attention again. Paul challenged the believers in Philippi, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2:3-4 NLT)
I’m not a fan of what’s often called a “positive thinking” or “possibility thinking” theology That is, to say that we’re all basically good and just need to realize the power of the good within us could be referred to with the theological term, baloney. We’re depraved and sinful and desperately wicked. We need a Redeemer and a Savior, found only in the person of Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection.
We’re walking with the apostle Paul on Wednesday evenings and we’ve just received our call to Macedonia (modern-day Greece). We parted ways with Barnabas, taking Silas instead, and we picked up Timothy and Luke on the trip. In Philippi, God took the city for Himself! How did it happen?
I’ll just try harder. That’s the mentality of most people who are trying to be good Christians. “Well, I tried and I blew it, so I’ll just try harder.” The problem is that God resists the proud, so the more you think you can handle sin and temptation on your own, the less God will help. But He gives grace to the humble, so when you admit your helplessness, God comes to the rescue and gives grace, which provides strength.