1 Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort in love, any sharing in the Spirit, any sympathy, 2 complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. 3 Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. 4 Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. 5 Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:
Though he wrote many profound and challenging passages, the Apostle Paul was deeply practical. In verse 1 of today’s reading, he listed four lofty spiritual benefits that can be ours in Christ. But in verse 2-4, he appealed to his readers to live their day-to-day lives, including all their relationships, in ways that made those spiritual qualities into walking, breathing realities.
Lord Jesus, it can feel hard and scary think of “doing nothing for selfish purposes.” But to have a partner who “does nothing for selfish purposes” sounds wonderful! Make me that kind of partner. Amen.
(Pastor Anne Williams wrote this reflection on Philippians 2 for us in 2020.)
I once shared with a close friend about a dream I have, an extravagant, lavish dream about something I want to do someday but feels very far off, pretty much impossible. Afterwards I felt embarrassed and exposed. I disparaged myself for being greedy. But a couple days later, she came to me, unprovoked, and said, “I’ve been thinking about your dream and I really hope it happens for you.” This is the encouragement and companionship Paul teaches us in today’s Scripture passage.
Those two words “I hope” have become a beacon for the kind of friend and spouse I now strive to be. I want to be the kind of friend that hopes with and for and on behalf of my loved ones. One that sees a lavish dream and says yes, you deserve that! I want to be the kind of friend who helps impossible dreams become possible. It feels so good to be around people who urge us on.
I have a feeling if we had a peek behind the curtain of most people we admire in life, we would find a whole slew of cheerleaders with encouraging words, supportive generosity, and loving hopefulness. I hope that you find that type of relationships to surround yourself with as well, and to give to others. Let’s carry each others’ hopes. There we experience a sacrificial love that will last, that will build a resilient faith.
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