Episode #176. Today we’ll read Philippians chapter 2 together. Paul tells us to humble ourselves and serve others…and Christ.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #176. Today we’ll read Philippians chapter 2 together. Paul tells us to humble ourselves and serve others…and Christ.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
October is well underway, which means it is almost time to put away the kayaks and get out the holiday decorations. Of course, at our local Costco the holiday decorations have been out for over a month. It seems like the spending frenzy begins earlier every year.
My husband and I were in Costco together a few weeks ago and took a trip down the holiday aisle. There, standing proudly at the end of the aisle, was a 12-foot Christmas tree, sparkling from the light of 4,430 LED lights. I took hold of one of the branches and discovered it was made from some sort of rubbery substance. The cost? A mere $900…
Memories Are Better
We both agreed that we would continue to make do with the much-less expensive tree we purchased several years ago from Sam’s Club. After all, more important to us than the tree itself are the decorations we hang on the tree every year; a vast, eclectic ensemble of ornaments collected over many years of marriage and raising kids. You know, the Lifesaver-and-yarn-doll ornament one of the kids made…or was that my mother? The little cork horse that has been glued back together… more than once; the many ornaments large and small purchased in cities both here and abroad…
At the end of the day, the memories sparked by these little baubles mean far more to us than that $900 Christmas tree ever could. It’s not even a fair contest.
I do love the holidays, and because of the difficult year 2020 has proven so far to be, it is my hope that this holiday season will give us the rest, reflection and family time we all so desperately need.
With Christ right in the center.
Philippians Chapter 2
If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.
Christ’s Humility and Exaltation
Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be exploited.
Instead he emptied himself
by assuming the form of a servant,
taking on the likeness of humanity.
And when he had come as a man,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death —
even to death on a cross.
For this reason God highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow —
in heaven and on earth
and under the earth —
and every tongue will confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Lights in the World
Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.
Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run or labor for nothing. But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrificial service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. In the same way you should also be glad and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon so that I too may be encouraged by news about you. For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests; all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know his proven character, because he has served with me in the gospel ministry like a son with a father. Therefore, I hope to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. I am confident in the Lord that I myself will also come soon.
But I considered it necessary to send you Epaphroditus — my brother, coworker, and fellow soldier, as well as your messenger and minister to my need — since he has been longing for all of you and was distressed because you heard that he was sick.
Indeed, he was so sick that he nearly died. However, God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. For this reason, I am very eager to send him so that you may rejoice again when you see him and I may be less anxious. Therefore, welcome him in the Lord with great joy and hold people like him in honor, because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up what was lacking in your ministry to me.
This entire chapter is about putting others ahead of yourself…and first and foremost, we are to place Christ ahead of all else. But that’s something that’s easier said than done, isn’t it?
My husband often boasts that if there was a contest for humility, he would win it hands-down. It’s a silly little saying, but it does reveal a lot about the human condition, especially the American human condition.
We have been taught from an early age to “…be all you can be…” We’re to sacrifice our time, our family and even our health in order to get to the top of insert your ladder here. It could be the corporate ladder, the political ladder, the professional sports ladder, or some other elusive ladder of achievement.
A Better Ladder
To be like Christ is to set those ladders aside and to take on the form of a servant. Let me read verses 6 & 7 to you from the ESV, that’s the English Standard Version. “…though He was in the form of God, [He] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Oh my goodness…such a powerful example of a much more excellent ladder.
And then Paul tells us to humble ourselves, to put the well-being of others before us, especially their spiritual well-being. And we are to “…work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” How difficult it is for those of us who want to live our best life now, to get what we think we deserve, to set all of that aside and take up the cross with Christ.
But if we truly recognize the wonderful gift of salvation, if we understand fully the undeserved sacrifice of Christ and the free gift of grace we have been given, then our gratitude requires that we share that gift with others. Let’s pray.
Dear Lord, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us. Thank you for the people who came before us, who took the time to explain this gift to us. Help us to be like Christ and take on the form of a servant. Give us the desire to share this gift with others…create the circumstances and help us plant the seeds that you will grow into fully formed Christians. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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