Let us pray: Dear Savior, humility, kindness, self-sacrifice and love never get us into trouble, whereas pride, jealousy, and selfishness always seem to pull us down and cause heartache. Today remind us of this fact. Remind us to follow Your lead in life and to mimic your Godly example. For then our conscience will be clean and we’ll rest in peace each night and every day. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR HUMBLE SAVIOR!
TEXT: Philippians 2: 1-11
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
There is nothing more delightful than watching new parents love their baby! They’re usually bleery-eyed from lack of sleep and a little fearful as they get used to taking care of their innocent, helpless infant; yet love, kindness, and self-sacrifice shine through it all at every turn. The other night I went to visit one of our new mothers in church. I used our text as the devotion. And when we talked about the total love and total giving that is expected of any of us, especially new parents toward their kids, she told me: “Yes, it’s true, but sometimes my patience wears thin and I dream of escaping from these new responsiblities!” How true! No matter our love, it isn’t perfect. Fear, worry, frustration pull us down. Thus, isn’t it nice to know that we have Jesus? Since He’s God, His love and His self-sacrifice never wears thin! He’s always there to give us more and more and more—whether it be forgiveness, peace of mind, strength to get through a tough day, or constant blessings. I reminded that new mom that that is our comfort and our joy. And I know she slept better that night after hearing that truth. Well, today you need to be reminded of the same thing. So, let’s briefly consider our text by focusing on this theme:
YOU CAN NEVER GO WRONG FOLLOWING JESUS!
I The first paragraph of our text is a wonderful reminder of how God wants us to walk through life. “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Christian moms and dads probably exemplify those words better than most. After all, when you’ve got a new-born your whole life is about self-sacrifice and putting others, namely the infant, first. However, neither they, nor the rest of us are immune from being overwhelmed by the stresses of life. Anytime you deal with people your patience wears thin, your kindness quotient drops, and your frustrations build and build. It happens in the church, at work, in the home, and at school. And then the easiest thing to do is chuck it all and withdraw into your own little world. But, when you do that you’re actually depriving yourself of Godly joy and Godly comfort. Because caring about others and showing it is the essence of a Christian’s life. It is mimicking Christ. It is following His lead.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death—even death on a cross!” This isn’t to say that all of us should search for a cross to be crucified upon. But, as God’s children through baptism, we are wear the mark of the cross just as little Eric Timothy soon will when he is made heaven’s heir through that holy washing. Yes, through the baptismal gift of faith our attitude about life changes. It changes from me first to God first. From “I take care of myself first” to: “I try to take care of others first.” Christ was the eternal Son of God. The Ruler of the Universe. The Maker of everything you see. He had it all in ways we cannot even imagine. And yet His joy was made complete by coming to earth, taking on our flesh, shouldering the frustrations of our sins, and finally sacrificing Himself to save us from worry with no hope. Self-sacrifice brought Him boundless joy. And it brought us His love. Trust in Him and follow His lead! Rest assured that even when you fail, He picks up the slack! And experience the inner peace that only such humility can bring!
Yes, When We Follow Christ We Can Never Go Wrong! How do I know that? Because the last paragraph of our lesson proves it. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 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.”
Humility and sacrificial love led to exaltation for Christ. They led to His being raised from the dead, ascending to heaven, and ruling over all creation for our everlasting benefit. In giving Himself to others first Christ’s sphere of love was enlarged beyond all telling and His happiness and joy was multiplied over and over again! Folks, the same holds true for us. We’re His children. His blessings are our blessings. His gifts are our gifts. His joy is our joy. You Can Never Go Wrong in Following Christ! Christian parents with newborns intuitively know that for a fact. It’s what keeps them plugging along. It’s what makes them special. That same kind of inner joy and hope for a brighter future can belong to each of you if you but take God’s Word to heart and cling to your Loving Savior. So this week, happily work on making each other’s joy more complete—mimic Christ in everything and make your heavenly Papa proud! Amen