Note from Jesus
Dear Servant of God,
Families, churches, groups, and communities are all systems of people. These systems are built upon flawed people and broken people. No matter how well-intentioned many people may be, each of us is flawed. The flaws of all, the pettiness of some, and the sinful behaviors of a few wound other people and damage the system as a whole. You live with two realities: you live in a fallen world, and it is full of imperfect people. These two truths make life in a family, church, group, or community very challenging. The new Christians in Philippi were having difficulty with each other’s imperfections.
Two leading women in the Philippian church, Euodia and Syntyche, were at the center of some of the problems. These two women had worked beside Paul in leading people in Philippi to believe in Me and become My disciples (Philippians 4:2-3). Their disagreement had a very negative influence on the whole church. It had led many to forget an essential truth about living as My disciples: My disciples must follow My example as a servant to others.
Paul had to write and ask for help in getting Euodia and Syntyche “to be of the same mind in the Lord“ (Philippians 4:2 NIV). Paul used the phrases “same mind” or “one mind” or similar expressions in various translations throughout the letter (Philippians 1:27; Philippians 2:2-5; Philippians 3:15) to mean they needed to “have the mind of Christ.” The problems these ladies had with each other were affecting the whole church!
Paul knew that the brothers and sisters in Philippi needed to understand what it meant to have “the mind of Christ.” The first five verses below (Philippians 2:1-5) give Paul’s introductory exhortation. He urged the Philippian believers to “come together as one in mind and spirit and purpose, sharing in the same love.” Then he reminded them of a hymn they sang about Me. This hymn reminded them of what “one in mind and spirit and purpose, sharing in the same love” actually looks like in real life (Philippians 2:6-11).
The hymn is beautiful. Paul’s exhortation was powerful. However, Paul didn’t stop with these reminders. He went on to give the Philippian disciples some examples of people who emulated My selfless lifestyle.
He first mentioned Timothy:
There is no one like Timothy. What sets him apart from others is his deep concern for you and your spiritual journey. This is rare, my friends, for most people only care about themselves, not about what is dear to the heart of Jesus the Anointed.
Then Paul mentioned their own fellow Philippian, Epaphroditus, who nearly died trying to serve Paul on behalf of the Philippians (Philippians 2:27-30):
I think it is best to send Epaphroditus home to you. He has become my dear brother in the Lord. We have worked well together and fought great battles together, and he was an encouraging minister to me in my time of need.
Paul next reminded the Philippians of his own example. He focused forward. He did not rely on his past accomplishments. He realized he hadn’t arrived at full maturity and being like Me. He pressed on to become who he wanted to be in Me (Philippians 3:7-14). Then Paul added — and this is a very significant point — all who are mature share this point of view (Philippians 3:15). He closed with this exhortation about following the example of servants:
Imitate me, brothers and sisters, and look around to those already following the example we have set.
The bottom line, dear servant of God, is to be who I have called you to be: My disciple. A disciple when fully trained will be like his master (Luke 6:40). If I am your Master, then you will learn to serve and realize that serving is more important than being recognized as important or being proved right. Paul had to use exhortation, teaching, a song, and several examples to try to help the Philippians see this truth. I hope his efforts long ago make an impact on your heart today!
Verses to Live
As you read this exhortation and song, please remember that I, your Lord and Master, set you an example to do as I have done. Follow in My steps and be a servant.
If you find any comfort from being in the Anointed, if His love brings you some encouragement, if you experience true companionship with the Spirit, if His tenderness and mercy fill your heart; then, brothers and sisters, here is one thing that would complete my joy — come together as one in mind and spirit and purpose, sharing in the same love. Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first.
In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. Remember:
Though He was in the form of God,
He chose not to cling to equality with God;
But He poured Himself out to fill a vessel brand new;
a servant in form
and a man indeed.
The very likeness of humanity,
He humbled Himself,
obedient to death —
a merciless death on the cross!
So God raised Him up to the highest place
and gave Him the name above all.
So when His name is called,
every knee will bow,
in heaven, on earth, and below.
And every tongue will confess
“Jesus, the Anointed One, is Lord,”
to the glory of God our Father!
Response in Prayer
Father, forgive me. Sometimes my need for approval and my desire to feel important make me jealous of those who get attention. Because of these weaknesses, I allow myself to become hurt and sulk about my own apparent lack of importance. Sometimes I just don’t want to submit myself to the needs of others and help them because it is time-consuming and hard. I ask, Lord Jesus, that You please have the Holy Spirit soften my heart and quicken my hands to serve others as You did. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.