This last sermon series has been encouraging for me. Throughout my life and ministry, I’ve found myself looking for that “one thing” that will help me grow closer to God or that would help others grow in their faith and knowledge of Jesus. However, in that search, I’ve discovered that there are no “silver bullets” in ministry, short of God’s grace; that is, there is no single thing that will ensure any individual’s growth and maturity in their Christian life.
While that might not seem all that encouraging, this sermon series has solidified my thinking about this. In Philippians 4:8, Paul ran through a list of things that he encouraged the church to think about: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. While I have been preaching through these traits as standards to live by, they’re also avenues of growth.
This thought occurred to me during the Wednesday Bible study following the sermon “Whatever Is Lovely.” (By the way, if you’ve ever wanted to interrupt the sermon to ask questions or call “bunk” while I’m preaching, check out Wednesday Bible study at 7 p.m.) The idea of something being “lovely” is the idea of something being attractive. So, in Bible study, we discussed the question, “What attracted you to God?” As we went around the room, some described the transformation they witnessed in the lives of other people; others described being drawn to Jesus’ sacrifice on their behalf; others talked about how God’s Word spoke to them.
There are all kinds of things that draw us to God, and Paul’s list in Philippians 8 would incorporate many of them. Some people are drawn to God’s truth, others to God’s righteousness and purity. Each of these things has a factor that attracts us to God, but not every one of them draws every person in the same way. While Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6), people are attracted to him in many different ways. And that’s OK.
Think about what first attracted you to God. Think about what continues to attract you to God. Then, as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:9, “Put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”