DATE POSTED Saturday, 2022-11-26
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
SCRIPTURE FROM: Philippians 2:1-4
TRANSLATION: The Message (MSG)
BIBLE TEXT: 1-4 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
APPLICATION: I attended an English high school, where I also boarded under English house parents. The principles and influence of my teachers and house parents have impacted my whole life – timeliness and eating very proper at the table are two of them!!! Having worked at a Canadian bank for over 15 years, I picked up a few things that have followed me right up until now – pretty cool ‘eh’?!!!! So, when your pastor preaches on the subject of being more like Jesus, he may be influenced by the teaching of the apostle Paul to the Philippian church. You see, Paul started this church after seeing many converted to Jesus as His followers. So, if Jesus was impacting their lives, then there should be clear evidence of principles that Jesus followed during His short life here on earth. Before looking closer at the things that were of particular interest to Paul, let me encourage you to first read the principles that were evident in the life of Jesus – found in verses 5-8. Simply click on the Scripture reference above and you will be presented with the full chapter. Paul therefore felt like just how Jesus was uniquely impacted by His Father, that the Philippian church, and Christians today should be impacted by our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Notice that the things brought out by Paul, are still things that ‘Christians’ struggle with today. Paul, back then, and Pastors today still struggle why, if Christians love Jesus and is blessed by Him, why are we not following in His footsteps and imitating His Character. Of course, they are assuming that each of us are constantly reminded of the life of Jesus, because we read our Bibles and learn of His character and His teachings. But look at the wish list by Paul:
*~* Agree with each other – You don’t need to prove that you are right all the time. Surely you remember how Jesus just kept silent when he was falsely accused before Pilate. There’s nothing wrong with a friend having their opinion, even if it’s different to yours.
*~* Love each other – Think about God loving you enough that despite your sin and ugly attitude, yet He sent His one and only Son to die a sacrificial life, so that you may live eternally with Him. No greater, unselfish and unconditional love than that.
*~* Be deep-spirited friends – of course they may not think like you, like the same things you like, or frequent the same places that you do, but they are your brother/sister with the same Father. Be good friends with those who need you in their lives.
*~* Others first – Paul said: ‘Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.‘
I thought it was really a blessing how Paul even told us how to accomplish these things: a). Through all that we have learned, gained and attained from following Christ; b). Through the lasting impression made on our lives by the love of Christ; c). Through being as one with our community – no reference to what ‘they’ are doing, but always what ‘we’ are doing as a community; and d). Through the love and caring attitude of our heart – God made us this way!
Notice that none of these things teach us to depend on what the other person thinks, does, says, or how they act towards us. This is a message to us personally. God will also deal with the other person, but when you stand before Him, it will all depend on what you did with what was given to you. Friends, the lost in our world need Jesus – our Savior and Lord. Oh, that they will especially see Him in our lives!
BLESSING(S) NOTED: As already evidenced by our Lord and Savior, let us also share compassion, unconditional love and the caring attitude of our Savior with all that we come into contact with. Let them look right through us and yet see ONLY JESUS!
PRAYER: Oh Lord, our lives were very much like the world we still experience every day while here on earth. We all need more of You and no longer be dulled or negatively impacted by the sin, strife and hatred of this world. Thank You for teaching through Your servant Paul so that we might again be reminded of the pitfalls we easily fall into when all we ingest each day is more of the world in which we live. Teach us Lord to always find the joy of our salvation and to aim at pleasing You every day because of what we learn from Your Word, and practice in our earthly travails. Your love, Your awesome gift of eternal life in glory with You and the Father are rewards that all Your saints long for. May the unsaved catch a glimpse of this and desire to know You personally. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!