“. . . then make my joy complete by being like-minded,
having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”
Philippians 2:2 (NIV)
Paul tells the Philippians to be of similar minds. This thought could be understood to have two meanings. 1. Every one who works for the Lord should understand the thinking of those with whom they minister. 2. All who minister in the name of Christ should have His mind.
To have the same heart that of Jesus Charles Sheldon wrote a classic, In His Steps-What Would Jesus Do? The story told of a church that had an unusual visitor one Sunday. Something happened that caused the pastor to re-evaluate his walk with the Lord. The entire congregation was invited to enter into this project of asking themselves, “What would Jesus do?” before they made any decisions. Asking that one question changed the lives of a lot of the people.
Paul challenges us to be “one in spirit and purpose”. Here he speaks of unity. Again our souls should be melded into one with each other and with Jesus Christ. A hymn written by Peter Scholtes in the 1960’s speaks of this concept. “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” The first verse starts out, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. . .” That verse ends with the line, “And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.” The writer has some wonderful thoughts in the verses that follow.
Periodically, God’s children should ask if we are of the same mind as Jesus. When we do this exercise, we should go back to the basics of our faith and search our hearts for the way God wants us to live. If anything that displeases God comes to our hearts and minds, we need to make things right with Him.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,
if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Holy Spirit,
if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete
by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Philippians 2:1 (NIV)
Paul writes to the Philippians, he encourages them to look into their hearts and consider their stance with Christ. He points out that they should receive a building up, an empowerment, from being in His presence. The apostle then spells out what he means by the Lord strengthening them.
Did they receive “any comfort from his love”? Do we receive any consolation from His grace? If any of us have gone through the loss of a loved one, we have benefited from that great love He has for us.
For those of us who have dealt with depression, Jesus has stayed by our side and comforted us. Maybe Christ guided us through a deep valley by showing us how He helped in times past. He could have sent someone to us who had experienced similar feelings or circumstances.
What about “fellowship with the Spirit”? Jesus promised us a comforter to help us through this life after He ascended into heaven. By doing this for us, He remains close to us, especially when we face difficulties or even events we don’t understand in our lives.
Were the Philippians filled with “tenderness and compassion”? Do we possess these traits? Do we respond to people who hurt or those in grief as though we are led by the Lord or by the thoughts of society? As I write this, a thought comes to mind. It goes like this, “Always use tender words because sometime (we) might have to eat them.”
The word compassion comes from two Latin words, cum-meaning ‘with’ and pathos-meaning ‘suffering’. Have we needed to ‘suffer with’ a friend recently? When we display compassion, sometimes it’s as simple as listening to another person as they talk. Other times, we sit with them in a hospital. Or we carry in food to their home.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Read Isaiah 49:1-7
“‘And He said to me, ‘You are my servant, O Israel,
In whom I will be glorified.’” “It is too small a thing that
You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also
give you as a light to the Gentiles, that you shall be my salvation
to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:3, 6 (NKJV)
God called the Servant to come to earth to instruct the people who had strayed from His ways. He called this servant from the womb. It was His plan to call His son to the task of dealing with the world and its sin. The Lord created the Servant to speak truthfully, to call things as they are.
The servant was disliked by the nation Israel. The prophet Isaiah received the same treatment. (Isaiah 30:9-11) Jeremiah also received scorn and ridicule. (Jeremiah 26:7-8) God’s own Son, Jesus, received the cruelest rejection from the people He came to help.
God promises He will display his splendor in this servant. He will make the Servant a light for the Gentiles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.
Our Lord chose to have Jesus bring the light of salvation’s message to the world. He also displays His glory through the Son. “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he looks at the one who sent me. ” John 12:44-45
How much did the Pharisees dislike Jesus? As we read our Bibles we see they watched Him for the slightest transgression of the Mosaic Law. Christ’s walking through a field and pinching off some heads of grain on the Sabbath was an illegal act in the eyes of the Pharisees. Jesus’ followers were hungry and he did what he felt was right. The teachers and the lawyers tried to trip our Lord several times as he healed people. They waited to see how He would answer questions because either way he responded, they were ready to deal with Him.
We thank You for sending us Your son to teach us of Your ways. We thank You for loving us so much that You did this for us. Please allow us to learn of You and Your Son, the Servant who took all our sins upon Himself in order that we may one day live with You in heaven. We give You the glory. In Jesus’ name, we pray. AMEN
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