Respect dare series – day 26 – Humility

Philippians 2:1-4

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 selfish ambition 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.

Glenn and I have similar giftings, but they display themselves differently. Sadly this can lead to comparison, competition or pride. We also have similar personality traits, which serve to unite us, but can cause us to judge others with different strengths.

Instead, God would have us work in humility and unity, working with a united aim to better serve God’s people and the furthering of the gospel. We are not to seek accolades, or see ourselves as superior (either to each other or others), but rather seek the building of God’s Kingdom by the strengthening of His people.

My action for today: Support Glenn and add value to his teaching, rather than critiquing and fine tuning him to my giftings. My gifts allow me to add value; I shouldn’t use them to detract. Work together to build up the body in love and unity.

My prayer for today: Lord, let Glenn and I have the same mind – the mind of Christ. Let us minister together as one, strengthening each other’s weak points in all humility and love. Let us look to each other’s interest before our own. In Christ’s name, Amen

Shining God’s light together in love and humility

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United by Sin and Salvation

United by Sin and Salvation

Paul’s reason for writing to the church in Rome was to address the division between Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were teaching legalism and boasting in the law and their circumcision. Paul shows that none are righteous of their own works, that the Law was given to reveal sin, and that through the sacrifical system none can be saved. Paul shows that all are in sin, and all can be saved only by grace through Christ’s redeeming sacrifice.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. (Romans 3:21-25).

United as God’s People

Paul also argues that it is those in Christ who are God’s people, His elect, and not those who are Jews by race. They are brothers in Christ, sons of God, heirs with Christ and have been adopted into the same faith. He calls them to live in harmony with one another through love, mutual up building and by serving one another. They have been given different gifts in order to do this; gifts are not for boasting or for selfish ends.

United as the church, today

It is easy to imagine Romans being written to our divided church of today. We are often quick to judge those who common from different denominations, worship in different ways or have different opinions to our own. There can be multiple churches in the one community serving it in a very haphazard way due to pride preventing communication and liaison. The church needs to take a look within itself and start applying some of these truths in order to build unity. We are the church; it is not just the buildings. And we need to humble ourselves for the sake of unity.

Ask yourself: How can I build unity this week? Who do I know has been hurt by the church and how can I show them love? How can I promote unity within my church? How can I prefer others this week? How can I serve one person practically; whether with a meal, weeding, etc?

Unity glorifies God

Birthing Unity through Humility

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel . . . (Philippians 1:27)

Hmm, striving together with one mind? Firm in one spirit? I know I struggle with this concept. I’m often prideful and I’m good at arguing for my point of view. And I really don’t like being wrong. I mean, we have opinions because we think they are right. I’m not going to hold to an opinion for the fun of it . . . But there are many people who make up the body of Christ, and we are all unique individuals (praise God), so how can we go about having the same mind? What does this mean? What was Paul aiming for? Did he really want a group of believers with all the same thoughts and opinions and way of thinking?

The Philippians held a very high opinion of themselves as Roman citizens. Following the invasion by Rome in 167 BC, everyone in Philippi was given the right to Roman citizenship. This was unusual in the Roman Empire, but was granted because of the wealth of the city. The city itself became known as “Little Rome”. Now being a Roman citizen was a cause for pride. They had certain rights and privileges that no one else in the Empire had, including:

  • The right to buy property;
  • The right to vote and elect magistrates;
  • They had the right to contract a marriage;
  • The right to appear before the Emperor;
  • They were not to be executed, or severely punished, without fair trial;
  • If sentenced with the death penalty, Roman citizens could not be sentenced to crucifixion as it was considered too horrible a means of death;
  • Someone who physically beat a Roman Citizen was liable to capital punishment.

Because of their Roman citizenship it seems that the Philippians became prideful and conceited, holding high regard for themselves and becoming individualistic. Ring any bells in your heart, or as you look at soceity today? Only thing is, those of us in Christ no longer have their identity in national citizenship, sport club membership, workplace identity, or even family name. We belong to a citizenship in heaven:

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)

And because of this, we are called to unity:

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 selfish ambition 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. (Philippians 2:1-4)

The key to unity that Paul brings is humility. It isn’t necessarily thinking the same way, or even having the same opinions on how the church should run, which party should be elected in politics, or which sports team should be supported. It is about preferring one another, considering others of more importance than ourselves, and putting the fellowship of believers before our own personal agendas. This might mean biting our tongue at times in an argument that really just isn’t that important. It might mean trying to hear the heart of a sermon, rather than “nit-picking” on small details we disagree with. It could mean taking time out of our Sunday Sabbath to help a friend move house. As our good Lord said:

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

 Application Questions to think through:

  • What things in my culture are esteemed?
  • Where do I have pride or conceit in my life?
  • In what environments am I not walking in humility of heart and mind?
  • What does humility (servanthood) look like to me?
  • What is one small act of service that I can do for a fellow believer this week, showing I choose to prefer them over myself?

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 emptied himself, by 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. 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. (Philippians 2:5-11)