Paul wrote this letter to the group of people in Philippi who were followers of Jesus.
In these verses he talks about who Jesus was.
And he also talks about how we should be as Jesus followers.
The things Paul says we should be is a pretty tall order.
It made me think about myself & how I measure up to what Paul says we model in our livers.
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?
Any comfort from his love?
Any fellowship together in the Spirit?
Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other,
loving one another,
and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don't be selfish;
don't try to impress others.
thinking of others as better than yourselves.
4 Don't think only about your own affairs,
but take an interest in others, too,
and what they are doing.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal's death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you.
And now that I am away, it is even more important.
Work hard to show the results of your salvation,
obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
13 For God is working in you,
giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
14 Do everything without complaining and arguing,
15 so that no one can criticize you.
Live clean, innocent lives as children of God,
shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
Here's the list of things Paul says we should be as followers of Jesus...
...agreeing wholeheartedly with each other,
...loving one another,
…don't be selfish,
...thinking of others,
...take an interest in others,
...have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had,
...work hard to show the results of your salvation,
...do everything without complaining and arguing,
...live clean, innocent lives,
...shining like bright lights
I don't think those are the traits the world automatically thinks of when they think of Christians today.
I'm not at all sure I exemplify all of those things all of the time.
I think he hits us all with all of those listed traits, but that last one really hits us today...
Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
I wonder how much “shining as bright lights” we do in this wild, crazy, sinful, “anything goes” kind of world.
Do we live such lives in our sick & sinful world that people automatically think of Christians as “bright lights” in a dark world.
I think the world immediately thinks of other, non-flattering, non-Christ-like attributes when they think of Christians these days.
It's all really simple – Jesus Himself boiled it all down pretty much...
love God, love people.
We're to live in such a way that when people think of Christians, they should think of people who are loving.
That's not what the world thinks of us.
So how do we change that perception?
We start being & doing what we're supposed to be & do...
& love people that God brings into our day to day lives.
If we do that, everything else will fall into place.