Love as He loved

If we were to write a literal rendering for this verse, it would be “Think this in you which Christ thought in Him.” Jesus–the holy, blameless, powerful Son of God—entered this world to be a servant. He was fully God, but He didn’t use His standing for His own advantage. He considered it a prize to be freely surrendered. In other words, He was the essence of humility. We don’t see a great deal of servanthood or humility in today’s world. We see people clamoring for the things for which they feel they are entitled. We see them waving signs and demanding rights. Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect because we are all made in God’s image, but I worry that our demands for rights have pushed aside our responsibility to consider others’ value, too. It isn’t easy to live humbly in these human skins, but with Christ’s help, we can love as He called us to love.

Hymn day: ‘Breathe on Me, Breath of God’

HYMN DAY! “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” by Edwin Hatch. This makes a beautiful prayer of servanthood!

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love the way you love,
and do what you would do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with yours,
to do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
so shall I never die,
but live with you the perfect life
for all eternity.

A heart of compassion

How can perfect unity of heart, mind, love, and purpose be accomplished? Very simply, through humility. Not by becoming a doormat for others to trample or by putting ourselves down, but by building others up. By recognizing other people matter. Humility starts by accurately evaluating ourselves in light of our relationship to Christ. This helps us see the image of God in others. When we follow Christ in humility instead of demanding our own way, we will be concerned for others. The concern will lead us to take correct action to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of those who cross our pathways. I’ve begun praying, God, break my heart for what breaks Yours; build in me a heart of compassion. It’s a prayer that is growing and stretching me. Sometimes it hurts. But I’d rather hurt for His children than live with apathy.

Strive for fellowship

I’m continuing with Paul’s letter to the Philippian believers, because there is so much meat here! In these verses, Paul is essentially encouraging the Philippians to get their heads on straight and remember their identity and common mission as followers of Christ Jesus. Disunity, especially among those who claim to be believers, is heartbreaking. We cannot have joy when we are at odds with others who help make up the Body of Christ. We find our joy in growing together in purpose and love. Our goal should always be to further the Kingdom of God. We accomplish this by extending grace and letting love dictate our words and deeds. Strive for fellowship. The world will know we are Christians by our love.

His transforming work

FRIDAY 3/24 — The discernment that Paul prayed for the Philippian believers would result in a growing character. The word “filled” here refers to past action that bears on present choices. “Fruit” is the harvest of righteousness’s evidence. And of course, righteousness comes through Jesus Christ and brings a harvest of morality and Christian character that glorifies and reveals God. We can’t be “good” in and of ourselves; goodness/righteousness is a product of our relationship with Christ and His transforming work in us and through the Holy Spirit. God’s work in us—and our cooperation with Him!—should continue throughout our lifetimes so in the end, we will stand unashamed at Christ’s coming.

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