You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. – Philippians 2:5-8
As we wind down to the end of Paul’s prison letter to the Church in Philippi, let’s review what it means to be a servant as Jesus was – to have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. – 2 Timothy 2:24
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. – Philippians 2:14-15
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for ALL he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9
Perhaps right now you are thinking that Paul’s letter is too hard – that it is too difficult to put everything we learn in the Scripture into practice. This verse holds the answer:
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13
Remember what we learned in chapter 3 – God isn’t asking us to use our own strength to build a resume’ of good works to impress Him. I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who gives me strength. Let’s keep Paul’s words in mind as we start a new week dedicated to our growing relationship with Christ.
Philippians 3:1-11 (The Message)
And that’s about it, friends. Be glad in God! I don’t mind repeating what I have written in earlier letters, and I hope you don’t mind hearing it again. Better safe than sorry—so here goes.
Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they’re interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.
The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
Not by my own efforts…not in my own strength. Why? Because I cannot do it. So I fall on my knees before the Holy God and ask Him to fill me with His Spirit. I pray for Christ to do great things this week in His strength and through my willing and obedient heart.