We say to teenagers, “Watch your attitude!” But we need to watch our attitudes as Christians. Maybe you’re hurt or angry or disconnected – most sins in the world are the offshoot of pride. How do we break the cycle of self-obsession? How can we love as Jesus loves? How can we fix our attitude? We can’t do it without His help.
In his letter to the Phillipians, Paul wrote very beautifully about Jesus’ example and how we should follow it.
Phil.2:1-4 Be one in Christ
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 rivalry 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.
You are forgiven. It should encourage you. Your testimony of salvation is only the start. We a reborn into a people, a body, a city, a kingdom. Married people who just stay together for the kids end up with a distant relationship that fizzles out or ends in an explosion – sometimes we do the same in church. In life we often have to compromise but this is not what Paul means. We must be like-minded because we love the same God and serve him and each other.
Phil.2:5-8 The humble servant
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 made himself nothing, 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.
Jesus stepped down from the throne and descended to live in squalor, even submitting to death for us.
Christ’s love unifies us. If we love Christ we will love others. If we love Christ we will be glad to serve others.
Phil.2:9-11 The exalted king
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.
Christ’s humility draws the gaze of a sovereign God. God lifts him to a greater glory than before. Because of Christ’s work, we should serve him in humility, and in the end, we will be lifted to glory.
Phil.2:12-18 Shine for Christ
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
In case you get proud of your service or humility, remember it all belongs to Him – your gifts, your possessions, your humility are all from him.
We are encouraged to shine like stars together – stars are best seen with no pollution & no artificial light. This world is polluted and distracting. We need to get close to God. But stars shine brightest against the black, diamond shine best on black velvet. We will shine brightly against the blackness of so much of the world. But remember – one star alone is too little – the light comes from all the stars shining together.
[Based on notes from AECW Ladies Conference 20/4/13]