MOTIVATION TO GIVE OURSELVES AWAY!
Philippians 2 . . .
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ...”
DO you have any encouragement? Surely the answer is YES! Think about it. Doesn’t it thrill your heart to know you have been raised with Him, are now seated with Him, married to Him, one with Him? To know that more and more each day you are growing in the knowledge of Him and of His goodness to you? YES! Can you not say you have received much encouragement from the Father as you’ve seen more clearly your standing with His Son, by the working of His grace towards you?
“...if any comfort from his love...”
Another blessing from Him: haven’t you many times known His arms around you, and the assurance of how He loves you? At times we know more clearly His love for us because of the forgiveness He has had to extend due to our shameful behavior. At other times we know it as we receive His love through other saints in very visible and tangible ways—His love comforting us through His People. And what about the countless other expressions of His kindness, tenderness, and loving-care that He extends to us continually by His Spirit?? YES, surely we’ve known comfort from His love.
“...if any fellowship with His Spirit...”
Oh, don’t you know what it is to sup with Him? While, of course we’ve only touched the hem of the garment concerning that fellowship, that foretaste He has blessed us with already is incredibly more than we could have imagined. We have been blessed to know that closeness and oneness with Him. The spirit Himself testifying with our spirits, Abba.... Wow! Our hearts burning within us like the men on the road to Emmaus. We have tasted, we have seen that He IS Good!
“...if any tenderness and compassion...”
Yes, again, hasn’t He flooded us?
Consider this: Did He ever HAVE to give us the personalized, first hand experience of His love? Did He have to personalize our fellowship with Him or our oneness with His Son?? No! He didn’t HAVE to do that for us. He didn’t have to strengthen us in our inner man or encourage our hearts or anything like that. He didn’t have to. He could have just given us the knowledge of what He did. He gave His Son. His Son paid in full our penalty. That, by itself demonstrates incredible love. Just knowing that should have been enough. He could’ve just laid out the facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection and said,” Here’s my Son. Love and Obey Him and His ways.” God could’ve stopped there, and we would have been responsible from that point on.
But God has gone to great lengths to personalize His love and devotion to us. He decided that this New Covenant wouldn’t be like the old one. Now His Spirit lives in us as our living hope. He is our current, day by day help, guidance, love, comfort, assurance and encouragement. So, now we each have our own personal big diary with God concerning all those “if you’s” mentioned above. Hallelujah to Our God!
So... therefore, the verses continue... our ATTITUDES should be the same as that of Christ Jesus... being a servant, taking up a towel, humbling ourselves in obedience. Can you agree that, YES you have been a recipient of the blessings mentioned in the early verses of Philippians 2? Since it is true, we can make a choice to be His servant, and quit trying to prop up our own self-life or defend our rights (or whatever other foolishness seems soooo important). It just shouldn’t matter how we “feeeeel” that day or that moment. We HAVE received great blessings, encouragement, comfort and love from God. The least we can do is be kind and helpful and serve Him in return.
Can you see that it’s not, “I’m *supposed* to care about others more than myself...” It’s not obligation. It’s motivation. Look at what’s been done for us! Look at what we’ve been given! When we remember that, we want to give ourselves away. That’s what helps us to have the same attitude Jesus had.
Paul said if you’ve known these things, “make my joy complete.” Share a common attitude and purpose and love in the lives you live. Think about others above yourselves. Serve one another. If we’ve known such abundant kindness, love and fellowship with the Father, respond to Him with a life lived for others. Simple. Oh, that our hearts would remain soft and responsive to Him, remembering and acknowledging continually His presence and His desires and His Lordship over all of life.
This is real practical? God has called us, motivated us to really seriously live our lives for other people! Think about the difference between spending vast amounts of time and energy pursuing your own super deep relationship with God.... and spending that same amount of energy helping your brother or sister have that same deep relationship you so crave.
...whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses it for Jesus’ sake will find it (Lk. 9:24).
The law of the Kingdom says that as we give to others we are cared for. What’s the one thing in your walk with God you want more than any thing else? What if, instead of spending yourself to save yourself, you spent yourself, lost yourself to see that same thing become reality in your neighbor’s life? We really can trust that God will care for us. That’s His promise!
Our attitude can be the same as Jesus’. We can declare with our lives, “God you’ve done so much, how can I withhold from others?!”
The “golden rule” as we’ve called it is an action statement. “...DO unto others as you’d have them do for you...” (Mat. 7:12). It’s not, “don’t do for others all the nasty stuff you’d hate to have them do to you.” It’s offensive. If you’d like it, do it for others. If you need it, give it away. If you long for it for you—wrestle to see someone else have it. This action statement, Jesus said, “sums up the law and the prophets.”
This verse in the Message translation sums all this up well:
“Here is a simple rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for *them*. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.”
Let it be so in all of God’s people: that we would please Him in every good work as we are responding to the love that’s from Him, through Him and offered back to Him. Amen.