Having the Same Love

Philippians 2:1-4 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. 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.”

What encouragement do we have or receive in Christ? And this word “encouragement” isn’t all about just making people feel good. It is an exhortation, and/or a warning, and/or a holy urging motivating and inspiring us to carry out his plan for our lives. And his plan for us is that we die with him to sin, not just once, but daily, and that we walk in obedience to him.

But it is also his promises to us who are dying with him to sin, and who are living to him and to his righteousness, to be with us, to watch over us, to protect us, to nurture us, to comfort us, to guide and direct us in the way that we should go, and to empower us and strengthen us to endure persecution for righteousness’ sake and to live holy lives pleasing to him.

And participation in the Spirit only comes by faith in Jesus Christ, through us dying with Christ to sin so that we are no longer living in slavery to sin but so we are now living as slaves of God and of his righteousness, by his grace. We participate in the Spirit when we walk (in conduct, in practice) by the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and when we walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to our flesh.

And if we are to be of the same mind with one another then we need to be first of all of the same mind with Jesus Christ. We must be united with him in mind, in heart, in love, and in purpose, and then we can be united with other believers in Jesus who are also united with Christ in mind, heart, love, and purpose. For it is the mind and the heart and the love of Christ which must unite us together, and not the mind of humans.

We are to do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than ourselves. And this brings to mind what I just finished writing about which has to do with if Jesus is truly “the reason for the season” then what should that look like. It shouldn’t be about us and our traditions and what we want, but it should be about what Jesus wants.

And what is Jesus’ primary concern for others? It is first and foremost for the salvation of their souls and for their eternal life with him, that they live lives which are surrendered to him in all holiness and righteousness, that they cease from living in addiction to sin, and that they now follow him in obedience to his commands and thus have eternal life with him.

But Jesus also cared about their physical and emotional needs, but never to the exclusion of their spiritual needs. And their emotional needs never superseded their spiritual needs. He never compromised truth and righteousness in order to cater to people’s fleshly desires and to their felt needs. The Lord’s will and purpose for our lives always came first.

Philippians 2:5-8 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.”

Our wants and our desires should never supersede our Lord’s wants and desires for our lives. His will and purpose for our lives should be what are uppermost on our minds and on our hearts. Our desire should be to do his will, to do what is pleasing to him. And our desire should be to minister his love and grace to others.

We should be humble in our thinking and speaking and behaving and not be proud and boastful and self-seeking. We should regard the needs of others above our own and not be selfish and only wanting what we want. And the spiritual needs of others should be uppermost on our minds and hearts to where we are willing to suffer for the sake of sharing the gospel.

And we should die daily with Christ to sin and to self and walk in obedience to his commands. Our lives shouldn’t be about what will bring us pleasure and comfort, but they should be about what will please our Lord, and what will be for his glory and praise. We should be committed to serving him with our lives and not to entertaining ourselves.

And this applies to every aspect of our lives, including our holidays and our celebrations and our traditions, etc. All that we do should be about living to please our Lord and not about living to please ourselves. If Jesus really is the reason for the season then it should really be about him and what he wants of us in the way of submission to him and in death to sin and in walking in obedience to his commands.

We need to be those who love like our Lord loves us, who gave his life up for us so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin so that we can now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. And if we love Jesus, we will obey him, and if we love others, we will obey Jesus, and we will love them like he loves us, and we will share Jesus with them so that they can come to know him, too.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

The Way That He Loves

By W. Elmo Mercer

Scripture: I John 3:1; I John 3:16

The way that He loves is as fair as the day,
That blesses my way with light.
The way that He loves is as soft as the breeze,
Caressing the trees at night.
So tender and precious is He,
Contented with Jesus I’ll be.
The way that He loves is so thrilling
Because His love reaches even me.

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