Humble, Selfless and Obedient

Philippians 2:1-2 ESV

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

We are living in some difficult days now. I believe the signs are everywhere that we are not that far away from Jesus’ return. I know not everyone agrees with me on this, though. You don’t have to. Still I must share with you what the Lord lays on my heart to share, because the time is near.

If you, like me, are on the front lines of this spiritual battle against our enemy Satan, and if you are exposing his lies, and if you are proclaiming the truths of God’s word in opposition to the lies of Satan, then you should also be experiencing Satan’s fierce attacks against you, too.

If you, especially, are exposing the cheap grace gospel for the lie that it is, and if you are calling people out of that lie, and out of their lifestyles of sin, and if you are calling them to repentance and to obedient faith in Jesus Christ, and to submission to Christ as Lord, the enemy is not going to like you. And, you should be getting that message loud and clear.

But, no matter what God has called you to do in this life – although we are all called to share the gospel, and to let our lights shine before men, and to be the salt of the earth – if you are following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his will for your life, and you are doing what his word says, Satan is going to come against you in one way or another.

So, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, and members together in his body, and we know first-hand his love, fellowship, and encouragement, then we need to be encouraging one another. And, encouragement is not just the feel-good stuff. Yes, it is to hearten, to cheer and to reassure, but it is also to urge, to persuade, to help, to admonish, and to insist on holiness, too.

Being of One Mind

But to encourage one another in the ways of the Lord, and not in the ways of the flesh, we need to be of one mind with Jesus Christ. We need to agree with our Lord and with his word, which is evidenced by how we live our lives. We need to be walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

For, we can’t help others to walk faithfully to their Lord and to stay strong in the Lord and in his word if we are not there ourselves.

And, this unity of mind and of love and heart with our Lord is also the unity we are to have with one another, and no other. For, this is not about being unified with a pastor or with a church’s business goals and marketing schemes. This is about having and living the mind and love of Jesus.

So, if we are to be united with Jesus in his mind and in his love so that we can also be united with brothers and sisters in Christ who are also united with him in his mind and in his love, then we also need to know his mind, and we need to learn his love. And, we gain both by intimate fellowship with him, by being in his word daily, and by following our Lord in obedience.

Philippians 2:3-4 ESV

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Yesterday, my husband and I were on our way to the home of a close friend whose husband died a year ago. We were taking lunch over there to share with her and her daughter and son-in-law, who is our son. But when I walked out to the car, immediately I noticed we had a very flat tire. We weren’t going anywhere.

My husband got out the spare tire and the jack, and he began to jack up the car and to remove the flat tire so he could replace it with a spare tire. But he was getting winded. And, then one of our neighbors appeared, and he offered to help, and he finished the job for him.

I don’t know if our neighbor is a Christian or not, but he was someone who looked out for the interests of others instead of just thinking about himself. He asked if we needed help, and then he got in there and he helped until the job was complete. He didn’t do it for any other reason other than we needed help. He expected nothing in return.

And, this is what this is talking about. It is about seeing people in need and reaching out to help meet those needs as we are able. Obviously we, as followers of Jesus, can’t meet the needs of the whole world, so we just trust the Lord to put people in our path who need our help and that he will lay it on our hearts as to how we should help them.

It is about being willing to be inconvenienced. It is about being willing to have our lives or our schedules interrupted. And, it is considering the needs of others above our own selves and our own plans. And, this is love.

Philippians 2:5-11 ESV

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so 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, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus is our model for this kind of selfless love which considers others and their legitimate needs above our own interests. If pride is something we give in to, it is a deterrent that keeps us, as Christians, from showing this kind of love to others. For, we can’t be prideful and humble at the same time.

We must see ourselves in the role of servants to one another. We can’t think of ourselves as superior to anyone in any way. We must all be guarding our hearts against pride and prejudice, too, which fits here, as well.

The color of our skin, no matter what our color might be, does not make us superior or less to anyone who is a different color. And, color is not who we are anyway. We all need to be color blind, and we need to see past the outward appearance of people to see as God sees. Who we are is not defined by what we look like on the outside. It is who we are on the inside that counts.

And, Jesus, because he loves us so much, humbled himself by becoming obedient to death on a cross so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin and so that we could now become slaves of him and of his righteousness. And, this is true love.

It isn’t loving to coddle people in their sins. True love tells the truth about how we can be delivered from our slavery to sin, even if it costs us our lives and/or our reputations to tell others the truth that will set them free. We must deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow Jesus Christ with our lives in obedience to his word if we want to be saved and have eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-26; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

My Jesus, I Love Thee

Hymn lyrics by William R. Featherstone, 1864
Music by Adoniram J. Gordon, 1876

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

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