Summary: If i am going to get life right, I need to make sure I am connected to God, the author of life, and His family.
Today, we begin a series of messages on the subject of "Getting It Right" as we look at God's Guidelines for Right Living found in the book of Philippians. We are talking in this series on success in life.
As we begin, we need to think about how success in life is defined. Some are of the opinion that accumulating money and material things defines success in life. Others say that experiencing all the world has to offer by way of adventure, excitement, and fulfillment of the fleshly appetites determines whether or not one's life has been success. Still others contend leaving behind something for others to remember you by is what makes life worth living. Still others say it's achievement and accolades that defines success in life.
The reality is, life is so short, we don't have a lot of time to play around with this question. How sad it would be for one to assume that a certain path will lead to a successful life, only to find out, once life is over, that they were wrong! As someone once put it, you don't want to climb the ladder of success, only to find out, once you've reached the top, that your ladder was leaning against the wrong building!
History is full of stories about people who have done exactly that. They've followed the paths we've mentioned, only to find that none of those things - money, material things, experiences, pleasure, adventure, leaving a legacy, achievement, accolades - none of it, has left them with the ultimate sense of satisfaction they were seeking. Ecclesiastes tells how one man, Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest of his day, found the true measure of success in life. He tried all we have just mentioned, then came to this conclusion:
"When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God] and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person." - Ecclesiastes 12:13 (Amplified)
"True success in life is knowing God's will and being in the center of it." - George W. Truett
It's this biblical definition we will have in mind as we go through this series. If I am going to discover how to get it right, and live life successfully, I will do it only as I learn what life is all about and how it is to be lived from the One who is the author of all life!
Which brings us to the first guideline God gives us for getting it right, make the right connections. (READ TEXT)
If I am going to get it right in life . . .
1. I need to make sure I'm connected with God - vs. 3-5
Paul rejoiced in the Philippians' "partnership in the Gospel from the first day." In other words, when Paul first declared to them how they might have a personal connection with God, they responded positively to the message, and rightly so. After all, if I am going to live life to the fullest, it makes sense that I must first make sure that I am personally connected to the source of all life - who is God Himself.
I want to share an illustration called the 3 Circles, that I believe will help us all understand how we can make sure we are personally connected with God.
God's Design - We see beauty, purpose and evidence of design all around us. The Bible says God originally planned a world that worked perfectly. Everything and everyone fit together in harmony. God made each of us with a purpose - to worship Him and walk with Him. (Genesis 1:31; Psalm 19:1)
Sin - Life doesn't work when we ignore God and His original design for our lives. We selfishly insist on doing things our own way. The Bible calls this sin. We all sin and distort the original design. The
Brokenness - Sin leads to brokenness. We see this all around us and in our own lives, too. When we realize life isn't working, we begin to look for a way out. We tend to go in many directions trying different things to figure it out on our own. Brokenness leads to a place of realizing a need for something greater. (Romans 1:25; Proverbs 14:12)
Gospel - At this point we need a remedy - some Good News. Because of His love, God did not leave us in our brokenness. Jesus, God in human flesh, came to us and lived perfectly according to God's design. Jesus came to rescue us - to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. He took our sin and shame to the cross, paying the penalty of our sin by His death. Jesus was then raised from the dead - to provide the only way for us to be rescued and restored to a relationship with God. (John 3:16; Colossians 2:14)