Today’s Reading: Philippians 1:27 – 2:11; Psalm 122 & 133
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ…standing TOGETHER with one spirit and one purpose, fighting TOGETHER for the faith…Don’t be intimidated by your enemies…For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle TOGETHER. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it. – Philippians 1:27-29
One of the strategies the enemy uses against us is to make us feel like we are alone. He strives to create conflict between believers so that they focus their frustrations on each other instead of finding unity. When we unite in the battle against evil, we become stronger. To divide us is to conquer us and that is exactly what Satan sets out to do.
Paul gives great advice to the Church in this prison letter. He calls the believers to offer themselves as gifts to each other – to generously agree with each other, love one another and work TOGETHER!
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. – Phil. 2:1-2
In his letter, Paul encourages believers to grow into the person God calls them to be – bearing the fruit of their salvation for the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:11). Part of this growth is evident in our relationships within the Church. God calls us to unity, as each one of us seeks to have the attitude of Christ.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 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.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess the Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:1-11
We are a work in progress. The more we seek God and draw closer to Him, the more He works in us – molding and shaping us into the person He created us to be. We are “growing in every way more and more like Christ” (Ephesians 1:15), being equipped to do His work and built up toward maturity in the Lord (Eph. 1:12-13).
When we humble ourselves as Jesus did, we start loving with the same kind of love He displayed on the cross. Then our lives begin to show the results of our salvation, our obedience that comes out of a deep reverence and fear for God. We stop fighting with each other and begin uniting together in obedience to what God has called us to do – no distractions, no unnecessary conflicts, no bitter attitudes or gossiping. When we allow God to do this kind of work in us, we begin to shine brightly in this dark world we live in.
Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
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. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. – Phil. 2:12b-18
Joy. That is what God wants us to experience as we gather together in the faith. He wants our lives to be an inspiration to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Then, even in the darkest of situations, united TOGETHER we can find love abounding and joy unexplainable. We can pour out our lives like a liquid offering to God, faithfully giving God every relationship and every trial in our life. We can rejoice and share joy…TOGETHER.