Philippians 4: 8-9: “Don’t start it, but Finish it”

When my dad was still living, he told me… Katie never throw the first punch, but if someone comes at you… you finish it. Don’t let anyone ever push you around. You won’t be in trouble, I promise.

I grew up with this mindset.

Katie, no one else is going to take care of you so you take care of you. Sad enough, it was true and when someone pushed me, well… i pushed back. I was respectful as long as I was respected… and when I wasn’t… I wasn’t.

So…

Last week, I watched my kids fight over two legos and a plastic kitten. Two legos and a plastic kitten.

Probably not a big ordeal, right? But in that moment… it was to them.

It began with my daughter scooting, with her kitten, closer and closer to Haisten. With absolutely no interest in legos at all, she waited until he sat down one lego on top of the other and she snatched them. He pushed her; she pushed him back, and he ran to me crying while she paraded around the kitchen with two legos, a plastic kitten, and her own rendition of a victory song and a complimentary smile.

Haisten, you shouldn’t have pushed your sister.

“But mama, she took my legos.”

Gracie you shouldn’t have took your brothers legos and you shouldn’t have hit him either.

“Mama you saw him hit me first. I hit him back; I didn’t hit him; i just hit him back. and mama, he is bigger so he knows better mama and I don’t”

In that moment, my heart sank. Don’t our children teach us so much about life?

God uses the smallest, most ordinary things to send great messages.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put into practice.   And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

I’ve shared with you guys how selfish I was before I came to know, really know, Jesus.

I guess I would have made daddy proud because I certainly didn’t let anyone run over me.

Katie took care of Katie because Katie felt like she always had to.

I knew nothing of a gentle spirit; some days it brings me to tears because I still don’t.

For so long, I’ve had that ‘don’t start it but finish it’ attitude and despite how hard I’ve tried to suppress that old piece of me… at the most inconvenient of times, it will bubble up and out before I’ve reconciled my heart to what it most important.

There has to be a time in your life as a faithful follower of Jesus that you quit standing up for yourself and start standing down for Jesus.

The Bible doesn’t say if they break your leg; break their neck. It says turn the other cheek. See Matthew 5:39

The Bible doesn’t say that if a person fights you, fight back. It says that in this world we do not battle things of the flesh and people but are engaged in spiritual warfare and that war isn’t won with army artillery; it’s won with spiritual armor. See Ephesians 6:12

The Bible doesn’t say if someone hurts your feelings with words, hurt them back. It says that so long as it depends on you, live peaceably with everybody for vengeance is for the Lord. See Romans 12:17-19

The Bible doesn’t even say that once you are saved you are safe from all of these things, but it does say that we should suffer for what is right even at our own expense. See Hebrews 11:25-26

I’m not sure which hurts worse, the punch to our person or the punch to our pride.

My dad promised that I wouldn’t be in trouble if I didn’t start it, but my Father says different.

Two wrongs do not make a right: “Make sure that nobody pay back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and everyone else.” 1st Thessalonian 5:15

We all have “those” days and “those” people that sometimes make it hard to be kingdom focused and character conscious.

In this scripture Paul says if there is ANY thing that is praise worthy, think about that… and do good things, right things.

Isn’t it so easy to be obedient in life when it aligns with something we want to do?

When I felt called to a new career, I was excited for what the Lord was doing, and with nervous obedience I jumped into that calling and gosh it has poured blessings on myself and my family.

Obedience pours blessings. Always.

But starting my day with a slap across my right cheek, and Jesus giving the instruction to just smile humbly and instead of giving someone a piece of my mind, just give them a piece of my other cheek instead..

where’s the blessing in that? Blessed that the Lord said don’t worry about applying my blush that day?

I mean maybe but humility keeps us obedient, and obedience always gives us greater access to the promise.

Paul said think about that one thing and the peace of God be with you. It will be hard sometimes, and while Satan will pour all of those should have said/ could have dones on you, as believers we’ve got to learn to stand down.

“If anyone chooses to follow me, he must deny himself daily, take up his cross, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

In my studying scripture I came across some biblical commentary that quoted it like this:

“obedience is your job; outcome is His.”

Wow, right?

Whatever our circumstance, God is either doing it or He is allowing it to happen.

And the outcome to either is His.

Satan lets us believe that we have a say in how things end for us, like our lives and decisions are not already known and knitted. If we said this or acted like that then difficult people and difficult things will automatically come to their senses and the situation just dissolves allll because you did (insert here).

Hind sight is 20/20 but in that moment we are justifiably sure that what we do matters.

I wonder if God sits up there in the clouds and laughs at us?

You know… When we think we know better than God or can better control and manipulate a situation better than God. God Almighty, the One that sets the sun and moves mountains? yeah. okay.

Sometimes we get so caught up in how a certain place in our lives feels that we completely forget about God’s promises in those places and that is what Paul is urging us to remember here.

God is faithful and God will do whatever it takes to keep His promise to those that are faithful to Him.

“A faithful man will abound in blessings” Proverbs 28:20

“And his master replied Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your Master’s happiness” Matthew 25:21

“Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is GOD; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep in His commandments” Deuteronomy 7:9

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10: 35-36

The way you live your life is the greatest ministry you can provide to a public people and may be the only way a lost soul comes to know Jesus. As Christians we must carry this  duty heavily on our shoulders and with a sincere urgency.

Our human-ness fails our faith sometimes. We are and never will be, by no standard, perfect; however, it is indispensably important that we will ourselves to mirror ourselves in the image of Christ as close as humanly possible.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Collosians 3:15-17

Never let a momentary dispute place you in a permanent disposition.

Nasty people and bad times are temporary and so are hurt feelings.

set aside the difference for the destiny.

Biggest Hugs,

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4 thoughts on “Philippians 4: 8-9: “Don’t start it, but Finish it”

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