devotion 9-19-15

Philippians 2:1 – 11

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was* in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Paul has told them how he loves them and longs to be with them, and now he adds – if they feel love for him, if they feel the encouragement of Christ, if they share in the Spirit, if they share his compassion and sympathy – then their lives can make his joy complete. He is joyful when he learns that they are of one mind, loving one another and are in full accord. I can identify with that – it is a joy to me when all of the church works together in full accord, when people show their love for one another! This is what church should be! People should not do things out of selfish ambition, or arrogance, or to gain control, but should, in humility, regard others as better than themselves, looking out not for our own interests but looking to the interests of others. It sounds rather different when we think of it as addressed to us rather than to some ancient church, doesn’t it? How well do we live into this model?

Paul says that we live into it by having the mind of Christ – he was God – Paul says “in the form of God”, and yet, he chose to take the form of a human being, and not a wealthy human, not a one-percenter, but the form of a slave, and was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross! Paul has either written a hymn to express these thoughts, or inserts a hymn that was used in the church, but it is certainly a beautiful hymn, expressing the love, and the humility, of Christ! And God exalted him – this too is a part of the hymn – and someday, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bend, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

We could write an entire sermon on what it means to say, “Jesus Christ is Lord”! But essentially, it means we live humbly, serving and loving one another, as he would have us live, that what Jesus wants, and God wants, guides our lives, rather than what we want!

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