Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Philippians 2:1-8

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 2:4-5

Humility and thinking of others before oneself are rare commodities in today's world.  Most of the world's philosophy and life style is geared toward self-fulfillment and self-advancement.  The Lord, however, asks us to live lives of humility, love, and selflessness.  Philippians 2:1-4 says, "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others."

The Lord has showered us, His children, with His spiritual blessings.  The Lord gave us His salvation from sin's power and penalty through His precious blood on the cross.  He also daily gives us His encouragement, comfort, love, and fellowship.  The Lord daily lavishes on us His compassion and tenderness.  In light of God's blessings to us we need to show the same love to others.  We need to especially show that love to our fellow believers.

We must show Christ-like love to others.  We must seek to be united and "one in spirit and purpose" with our fellow believers in Christ (Philippians 2:2b).  This does not mean we will have perfect uniformity of thought at all times, but there should be a common working together among believers for the glory of God.  There should also be a loving and humble servant attitude towards fellow Christians.  We must not act out in selfish motives or to stroke our own egos, but with a humble spirit we must consider other's needs and feelings before ourselves.

This does not mean that everyone else is superior to us or more gifted than us.  It simply means that we must follow Christ's example and give others preferential treatment.  It means that we consider other's needs equally to our own needs.  Romans 12:15-16 says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another."  We need to experience joy and not jealousy in our fellow believers' accomplishments, honors received, and joyful experiences.  We also need to mourn and sympathize with those who are going through difficult times.

We must show the same Christ-like love to others that Christ showed to us.  Philippians 2:5 tells us, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."  We are to demonstrate Christ's attitude of self-sacrificing love and humility in our lives.  Christ Jesus, who is God Himself, left His perfect place of glory with God, the Father, in heaven.   Philippians 2:7b  says the He came to this world of sin and took "the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness."

What is even more amazing Philippians 2:8b reminds us that "He humbled Himself and became obedient to death-even death on the cross!"  Jesus left the glories of heaven and came to this earth to live a perfect life for us that we could not live.  Jesus then suffered the horrors of hell itself on the cross for us.  What love!  What humility!  What sacrifice! Should we not show that same humility, selfless love, and servant attitude to others?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Philippians 1

Our Lord loves us and places great value on our lives.  He loved us enough to give His very life as a sacrifice to pay for our sins.  The Lord does not want to just stop there, however.  The Lord wants to perfect us, so we can better live holy lives for Him.  The Lord wants to perfect us, so we can better reflect the Lord's character in our lives.  Philippians 1:6 tells us that we can be confident "that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

God's work in His children 's lives can not be stopped.  The Lord will continue to work in our lives to make us into increasingly more beautiful reflections of His beauty and grace.  The Lord does this through His Holy Word and through the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Especially in difficult times we often lean more heavily on the Lord.  Consequently, we grow in our love relationship with the Lord and in our ability to better reflect Jesus in our lives.  The Lord Jesus will continue the work of perfecting us in our lives throughout our entire lives or until the day when Jesus returns to this earth.

While we live our lives on earth our constant prayer for ourselves and for our fellow believers must be that our "love may bound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight (Philippians 1:9b."  Real love for God and others requires growth and maturity.  It requires a growing knowledge of and insight into God's Word.  This knowledge and insight must not just be a possession of facts, however, but must be diligently applied to our lives in Godly living.  This growing knowledge and insight into God's Holy Word must result in our love for God and for others.

It must also result in our lives becoming more holy before our Lord. According to Philippians 1:10-11 our prayer for ourselves and others must be that we will grow in the Lord's knowledge and insight, so that we "may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God."   May it be our constant prayer that we and our fellow believers will become more and more like Jesus in our character, thoughts, and actions.  May we be growing in holiness our entire lives or until Jesus returns some day.  May our consuming and growing passion be that God's name will be glorified in everything we do and think.  In this way, God's will for our lives will be truly perfected in us by His Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ and living for His glory must be our consuming passion.  We must grow in our passion and desire to reflect the Lord Jesus in our lives.  Running after the things of this world such as money and pleasure is a mere "chasing after the wind" according to Ecclesiastes 4:4b. The Lord must come first in our lives.  He must be more important to us than even our careers and families.  If we do not place the Lord first in our lives and make Him the reason for our lives, we miss the whole purpose for living.

Paul said in Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."  Paul was in prison for his faith when he wrote the book of Philippians.  Paul's current circumstances did no matter to Paul, however.  All that mattered to Paul was that he was living for the Lord and for His glory.  Paul knew that living for the Lord was the secret to joy even in the difficult times in His life.  This is because Paul found his meaning and purpose for living in the Lord.  May it also be our consuming passion to grow in our desire to bring glory to the Lord and better reflect Jesus in our lives!