Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Drinking coffee in Minneapolis outside of Graves 601 Hotel, my mother-in-law responded to question from Aubrey by referencing Philippians 2. The conversation drew me in and was one of those moments when I thought there is no other place I would rather be right now than right here listening and interacting with these two women. Since that conversation I have thought about Philippians 2, particularly the first 13 verses, and wondered how it would be to act out those words Paul wrote to the Philippian church so long ago. I have noticed how short I fall of living a Philippians 2 life. I have thought how I have experienced each of the five spiritual blessings mentioned in verse 1, abundantly, but have fallen short of the unity Paul requests as a result of those blessings.

Verse One
1. Encouragement from being united with Christ- check
2. comfort from His (Christ) love- check
3. fellowship with the Spirit- check
4. tenderness-check
5. compassion-check, check
Verse Two
1. be like minded
2. have the same love
3. be ONE in spirit and purpose

If the first two verses weren't challenging enough Paul goes on commanding the people to
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should not look only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." (Phil. 2:3-5, NIV).

It's seems difficult to grasp, but what a beautiful, complete picture we have as Paul goes on to describe the attitude of Jesus. Jesus was "in very nature God (Phil. 2:6)" but He "did not consider equality with God something to be grasped (Phil. 2:6)." He truly did consider others better than Himself. He didn't look to His own interests, but to the interests of God and mankind.

His humility resulted in our salvation and His exaltation. "Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." (Phil2:9-11)

Jesus shared the "same love" of mankind with God, He was "one in Spirit and purpose" with God; therefore, He took on the "very nature of a servant," "appeared as a man," and "became obedient to death" so that we might have LIFE. Life to choose like mindedness, unity in the Spirit, unity in God's purpose, and unity in His love. This makes me ask the question, why don't I make an earnest effort, under God's grace, to live a Philippians 2 life? Unfortunately, I am not vulnerable enough to share all of my answers with the few people who may read this blog.

I will say that reading these verses during this season of change has challenged me to examine my life, in light of the journey. In order to live a Philippians 2 life I must look at the journey as a whole, striving for the type of person I want to be in the end versus the present.

Here is another look at Philippians 2:1-11 from the Message translation:

If you have 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.

Think of yourself the way Christ Jesus thought of Himself. He has equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of the status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!......He didn't claim special privileges. Instead he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death-and the worst kind of death at that-a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth-even those long ago dead and buried-will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

It's funny...I've been mining that passage for years for grace to willingly give up things I considered my right, and tonight you've helped me take a fresh look and see a deeper challenge.