Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 29, 2010

The Foundation of Unity and Humility

Philippians chapter 2 begins by Paul stating four rhetorical statements...

If you have any encouragment in Christ,
any comfort in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any affection and sympathy...(ESV)

These four statements follow an outpouring of Paul's affection to the struggling church of Philippi. He spent most of the first chapter talking about the importance of contending for the Gospel. His focus was on the outside opposition that we all face when we choose to further the Kingdom of God. In short, I think Paul was preparing the church at Philippi for the reality of suffering and its role in our walk with Christ. As he begins here, his focus turns from the opposition experienced that is external and begins to prepare the church for the internal battles they are going to face. Paul challenges his flock to remember the encouragement they have received from Christ, the way His love has helped them be strong and brave, the things they have in common with His spirit, and way God reveals himself affectionately through His mercy and grace.

All of these things are crucial if we are to lay a foundation for unity and humility within the body of Christ. Take a few moments and remind yourself of the encouragement being a child of Christ gives you. Let your thoughts linger on how the reality of His love has made your stronger and more brave as you have trusted its presence. Then, let His Spirit reveal to you the qualities of Christ that are being developed and shared between the two of you. This takes some time in that most of us are not used to identifying what we do is much easier to see how we fail in participating with His Spirit. Once you have identified, or at least tried to, how you may share some of the same characteristics of God's Spirit...allow yourself to rehearse the truth of His Word that reminds us that His steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and His mercy never comes to an end. That kind of love may be hard to receive but it is there for you and will never diminish or turn away from you.

Lord, help us lay the foundation of unity from within the body of Christ. We need to remember what you have provided for us. Thank you for never turning away, racing ahead, or being distracted to something better. Our lives are yours...In your name, Amen

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