1. Read Philippians 2:19-30. Describe Paul’s relationship with the following two men:
· Timothy (See also Acts 16:1-3; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2-5; and 1 Corinthians 4:17.)
2. Re-read Philippians 2:1-8. How did Timothy and Epaphroditus exhibit the attitude and mind of Christ?
3. According to Philippians 2:21, what concerns Paul about Christian believers?
4. Why do you think this is so?
5. Your Joy Journey: Do you think your schedule and concerns tend to crowd out your Christian interest in and service to others? Explain your answer. What steps do you think you can take to remain focused on the interests of Jesus Christ?
6. Read Philippians 2:19-30. Looking specifically at vv. 25-30, list Paul’s reasons for sending Epaphroditus back to the Philippians.
7. According to verse 29, what kind of people should the church honor?
Scriptural Insight: Paul admonishes the church to honor him [Epaphroditus] because of his sacrifice and service. Christ gets the glory, but there is nothing wrong with the servant receiving honor. (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13.) There is no contradiction between Philippians 2:7 (“made Himself of no reputation”) and 2:29 (“hold such in reputation”). Epaphroditus was a blessing to Paul and to his own church, and he is also a blessing to us today! He proves to us that the joyful life is the life of sacrifice and service…He and Timothy together encourage us to submit ourselves to the Lord, and to one another, in the Spirit of Christ. Christ is the Pattern we follow. (Warren Wiersbe, Be Joyful, p. 87)
8. How does this compare to the kind of people the world honors?
9. Your Joy Journey: Do you personally know someone who, according to Paul’s standards, is worthy of honor? Share with your group, and spend some time praying for these servants of God.
10. Philippians 2:19-30 gives us insight into mentoring. In Paul’s case, his mentoring of younger, less experienced men resulted in the blessing of sharing the workload of ministry and growing closer to the Lord together. Using any sources available to you, define the word “mentor.”
11. Describe how Paul was mentoring Timothy and/or Epaphroditus.
12. Your Joy Journey: Answer the following questions about mentoring. Also, read “Tips for Mentoring as Jesus Did” that follows for more application to this lesson.
· Do you have a spiritual mentor in your life right now? Or, have you had in the past? Describe the impact this person has had on your life.
· Are you currently mentoring anyone in the spiritual sense? Describe what this “mentoring” looks like?
Adapted from Becoming A Woman of Influence by Carol Kent
What would happen if you decided to influence lives on purpose? (The challenge is to become) more intentional about how we influence others, not because we have to, but because we want to. Not because it is our Christian obligation, but because it brings great meaning and joy to our lives. Not because of duty, but because of love. Let’s be like Jesus. Let’s be women of conviction and passion. Let’s intentionally influence other women because it is a high calling and a part of our predesigned purpose.
Elisabeth Elliot said, “If we demand perfect role models, we will have, except for the Son of Man Himself, none at all.” We need to give up our perfectionist expectations – we will never be a perfect reflection of Jesus Christ. The truth is, when we follow Christ’s example, we will admit our failures, talk through the growth they produced in our lives, and keep pointing people to Jesus. Understanding who Jesus was and how He influenced others during His lifetime can help us learn how we, too, can influence other people on purpose. Jesus’ life gives us an example of how to live. His principles for influencing lives are timeless and, more than that, they are available for us to use today.
Accentuate your strengths and minimize your liabilities. Impacting lives as Jesus did doesn’t require perfection. It requires the availability of a more spiritually mature woman who is willing to walk beside a younger woman and be a friend. Too many women feel they can’t be a positive influence if they have not “arrived” spiritually. But the best mentor is one who admits failure and allows a younger woman to watch her deal with the effects of failure (or sin) and learn from the process. The only perfect mentor who ever lived was Jesus. If you are waiting for that level of perfection before you make yourself available, it won’t happen. Be “on purpose” Christian women who realize every encounter we have has the potential of becoming an impact moment for the person who crosses our path today.
If we want to impact lives as Jesus did, we will give people opportunities to grow, and then encourage them if they fail. It means taking the time to pray with them, train them, and encourage them. Sometimes it means watching them fail the first time they try a new task…Let’s not let fear hold us back. Let’s be more like Jesus. Let’s see people as He saw them – people with great potential.