[CF Devotionals] 2003-08-17 - Philippians

Part 11

  1. The Submissive Mind - Cont'd.

    As a product of these factors, Paul expects there should be a response which produces these characteristics required of the Philippians: a unity of focus, of love, of spirit and of purpose. The very things which allowed them to rise above circumstances would also affect how they related to each other and those outside the body. As these things appear within the body, then Paul finds joy within his own life, an example of his own humility, and the putting of the needs of others ahead of his own and reaping joy from others being blessed.

    Verses 3-4: How we are affected by people seems to be a product of how we relate to them. Paul is concerned the Philippians didn’t live out of a self-centeredness. He had pointed out he could praise God because the word was going out, even when it was put out by people functioning with the wrong motives. Nevertheless, he still wanted the Philippians to live out of the right motives.

    Paul demanded a life of humility, putting others first. As I’ve noted before, to be truly humble simply means to have an accurate self-image before the Lord. As we come to truly know Him and to see ourselves in light of who He, is our response must be humbling. To be humble means realizing our dependency on God, our own inadequacies - and therefore giving up the need to protect ourselves from the pain caused by the actions of others. In other words, we must quit "looking our for number one" by realizing that we’re not really number one. God is!

    Now this is the antithesis of the worldly view. All we hear is the importance of a good self-image. We even hear Christians teaching the importance of having this. Now I’m not saying that we must have a bad self-image. What we must have is an accurate one. And as we develop this perspective, we will desire only that which the Lord wants. Then we will find it much easier to put the needs of others ahead of our own.

    If we have an accurate self-image, we will always desire the things of the Lord ahead of ourselves and therefore His desire for our life ahead of our own. There is no way we can live this way on our own. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to empower us and look to the example of the Lord for our model.

    Verses 5-11: Paul lists the qualities displayed by Christ, the example of true agapé, that is putting the needs of others ahead of our own. Christ is our model. The pattern of His life must be the pattern of ours, if we truly desire to live the real Christian life. If we desire to be obedient, then as we face the choices of life, we must ask, "What would Jesus do?" or as we saw previously, "To live is Christ…."

    Paul, in these verses, gives one of the clearest statements of who Jesus was found as in Scripture. First, He is described as the preincarnate God. There is no question that Paul is saying Jesus is deity in human form. Christ is God. He made a similar reference in 2 Corinthians 8:9.

    "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Questions or Comments?

[email geoff] gkragen@aol.com