Summary: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go through life day by day with an eternal perspective? Have you ever known that kind of person? Their car breaks down and somehow the service man comes to know Christ. Why? They live with an eternal perspective.
Read: Philippians 1:18-26
Think of a modern example of a person who keeps an eternal perspective. The person who comes to my mind is Jim Elliott. He was famous for saying, he is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” This flows from the heart of a man who had an eternal perspective. It is from someone more concerned about the things of heaven than entangled with the things of earth.
In his diary he said, “God I pray to you, light these idol sticks of my life, that I may burn for you. Consume my life God, for it is yours.” And then he said, “I seek not a long life but a full life, like that of Jesus Christ.” His prayer was answered. His life was not that long. He died taking the Gospel to the Auka Indians.
His prayer was answered in that his life was full. The very fact that he died taking the Gospel to the Auka was a stepping-stone for that tribe to come to know Christ. His life was full because he has inspired many to live with an eternal perspective. His life was like Christ. Not a long life, but a full life. He lived with an eternal perspective.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go through life day by day with an eternal perspective? When something happens to you and it is used for the glory of God. Have you ever known that kind of person? Their car breaks down and somehow the service man comes to know Christ. Or they have a health problem and the whole medical staff is witnessed to. Why? It is because for them everything in their life seems to have a purpose in God. They seem to be a person of destiny. They live with an eternal perspective.
Paul in these verses gives us some clues on how to have an eternal perspective. How you can go about in your life keeping Christ first. In verses 18-20 Paul speaks about his rejoicing. Remember that Paul is in prison when he is writing these words and he says he is rejoicing. Why is the Apostle Paul rejoicing? Is it because he is about to be released from prison and there is a lot of good news that is just around the corner? Paul does not know if he will be released or tried and falsely accused or even put to death. But yet Paul could rejoice.
Paul could rejoice because Christ was first in his life. His priority was on Jesus Christ. It is not a foolish optimism, like so many express today. Not like the guy who fell off a twenty-story building and at the tenth floor was heard to say, “so far so good.” It is not that kind of foolish optimism. His optimism is based on Jesus Christ. Paul said, “I can rejoice,” because he knew his hope was in God. Paul’s attitude was right, not because of the circumstances, but because his focus was on Jesus Christ.
Paul had an eternal perspective through prayer. Vs 19
The first thing Paul does is ask for prayer. He asked the Philippians Christians to pray for him. He is the great Apostle. You would think if anyone could get by without prayer it might be the apostle Paul. But he is the one who asks to be prayed for. Paul was the one who needed prayer. He knew there was nothing he could accomplish on his own, but only through the prayers of his brothers and sisters in Christ would Paul live a victorious life.
You must admit that without prayer you can do nothing. Each one of us is dependent on prayer. When we tell someone we are going to pray for them it needs to be more than mere words. We need to commit ourselves to pray for others when we say that we will pray for them. We need others to pray for us. We need to be willing to ask others to pray for us.
He is asking the Philippians for prayer and that is what is so needful and so vital for us. We need to be praying for each other. That is the key that Paul talks about in having a right attitude.
Paul then brings forth another way that gives him that right attitude.
Paul had an eternal perspective through the help of the Holy Spirit. Vs 19
Here is the great man Paul who had done so much but he was not willing to attempt to accomplish anything in the flesh. He sought to live only by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we are going to live in the power of the Holy Spirit it means completely in submission to Jesus Christ. There is nothing we can willingly allow in our life that we know is displeasing to Christ. We need to surrender it all to Jesus Christ. When you came to know Christ as your savior you surrendered your life before him. If you are going to walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, you need to surrender your life day be day, moment by moment. Asked to be filled, and walk in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.