“October 14–20. Philippians; Colossians: ‘I Can Do All Things through Christ Which Strengtheneth Me’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“October 14–20. Philippians; Colossians,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Paul wrote his epistles to the Philippians and Colossians while he was in prison. But these letters don’t have the tone you might expect from someone in prison. Paul spoke more about joy, rejoicing, and thanksgiving than he did about afflictions and trials: “Christ is preached,” he said, “and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice” (Philippians 1:18). “Though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding … the steadfastness of your faith in Christ” (Colossians 2:5). Certainly, “the peace of God” that Paul experienced in his difficult circumstances “passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), but it was nonetheless a reality. In our own trials, we can feel this same peace and “rejoice in the Lord alway” (Philippians 4:4). We can, as Paul did, rely completely upon Jesus Christ, “in whom we have redemption” (Colossians 1:14). We can say, as did Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13; see also Colossians 1:11).
The phrase “work out your own salvation” is used by some people to support the idea that we are saved only by our own efforts. But that’s a limited view, just as it is limited to understand Paul’s teaching—“by grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8)—to mean that no works are required for salvation. The scriptures, including the writings of Paul, clearly teach the need for both the grace of Jesus Christ and personal effort in order to receive salvation. As Nephi said, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). Even in our efforts to work out our salvation, “it is God which worketh in you” (Philippians 2:13; see also Philippians 1:6; Bible Dictionary, “Grace”).
Paul gave up much when he converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, including the influential place he held in Jewish society as a Pharisee. In Philippians 3:5–14, look for what Paul gained because he was willing to make sacrifices for the gospel. How did he feel about his sacrifices?
Then consider your own discipleship. What have you sacrificed for the gospel of Jesus Christ? What have you received? Are there any additional sacrifices you feel you need to make to become a more dedicated disciple of the Savior?
Paul’s life is a vivid illustration of the truth expressed by President Russell M. Nelson: “When the focus of our lives is on … Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him” (“Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 82).
As you read Philippians—particularly chapter 4—search for statements that can help you find joy in any circumstance of your life. When have you experienced “the peace of God” during a challenging time? (verse 7). When have you found strength “through Christ” to do hard things? (verse 13). Why do you think it is important to “be content” in all circumstances? (verse 11). How can practicing the attributes in verse 8 help you find joy in your circumstances?
Here’s a study approach you could try with almost any chapter of scripture, though it works especially well with Colossians 1:12–23. Search the verses for anything you learn about Jesus Christ, and make a list of what you find. Why do you feel it is important to know these things about the Savior?
How do you know if the gospel of Jesus Christ is helping you become a “new man [or woman]”? One way to find out is to explore Colossians 3:1–17 and make a list of the attitudes, attributes, and actions of the “old man” and another list of the attitudes, attributes, and actions of the “new man.”
Does your study of these verses inspire any thoughts about how the gospel is changing you? Record your thoughts so that you can review them in the future and ponder how you are progressing.
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
Your family may notice the words joy or rejoice repeated often in Philippians. Each time you come across one of these words, you could stop and discuss what Paul taught about how to find joy.
How can we “shine as lights in the world”?
Perhaps your family could identify things to “think on” that fit the descriptions in this verse (see also Articles of Faith 1:13). How would your family be blessed by following Paul’s counsel?
What can we do to increase “in the knowledge of God”? What “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” do we find in the gospel?
Perhaps your family could read these verses sitting around a tree or while looking at a picture of a tree (such as the one that accompanies this outline). What does it mean to be “grounded” and “rooted” in Christ? How can we help each other strengthen our spiritual roots?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.