Last month I challenged my church to embark on the Philippians 4 Challenge, a 21-day endeavor to live out four commands from Philippians 4 (choose to be joyful, pray with thanksgiving, think on noble things, repeat daily) in order to obtain three incredible promises (the peace of God to guard you, a closeness to God that will transform you, and contentment that rises above any circumstance). Over 200 people started the journey with me, and I’m thankful for every one of them. Here are four things I learned from the Philippians 4 Challenge:
1. The Philippians 4 Challenge works. At the beginning and at the end of the challenge, the participants filled out a survey that helped them gauge their inner peace, closeness to Jesus and contentment. Every single person, I repeat every single person who completed the Challenge and took the final survey recorded an increase their inner person, with the average increase being 39%.
2. The secret is consistency. The Philippians 4 Challenge didn’t teach us anything new, nor did it promise us any short cuts. The key was consistency and endurance. Every person who finished the Challenge saw an improvement in their inner person, but of the 203 people that took the Challenge, only 41 filled out the final survey (signaling that they made it through the entire Challenge). It’s not our lack of desire that holds us back, it’s our lack of devotion. It’s much easier to want something then it is to go out and achieve it.
3. The Bible’s promises are true. There is no secret behind the Philippians 4 Challenge. All it did was encourage the participants to do what the Bible commands us to do and see if the promised rewards became evident in their lives. It shouldn’t surprise us that when we lived the way the Bible tells us to live, we experience the blessings the Bible promises. The Bible’s promises are true.
4. It’s possible to change. If you’re stuck in a cycle of worry, anger and bitterness, you can change. You don’t have to be trapped there forever. The most heartwarming stories were those I heard of people who were transformed in such a way that it shocked those closest to them, those who had resigned themselves to the belief that change wasn’t possible. You can change, because there is power in the Bible and the God who gives us the Bible.
QUESTION: If you took the Philippians 4 Challenge, what did you learn?