Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 37: Philippians 1:18-2:18


Our attitude should be the same as Jesus. As we evaluate decisions and choices, we are often torn between two positions - the things that we desire and the things that will benefit others. Usually, we are driven to stand firm for our opinion and perspective. At the same time, there are others who are advocating their position. How then do we decide? What is the basis for our choice?

Paul shows us that Jesus' attitude should become our guide. His sole desire is to please the Father and complete the work that He has been given. He is willing to face whatever hardship it entails, sacrifice whatever comfort He might have gained, and give Himself to the work of God. The question is not about "what do I want" or "what do they want." The question must remain, "What does God want?" Only by focusing on the Father's plan can we find unity in direction. We must acknowledge that there is One with greater understanding who has a plan. We must commit ourselves to obeying that plan, whatever the personal costs might be. This requires a characteristic that is not in high demand today - humility.

Humility involves recognizing that there are others around us with their own needs and interests. It is the willful choice to set aside our own desires to enable those of someone else to take priority. Rather than demanding our rights, our way, our needs, or our agenda, we are willing to put them on the back burner and make others a priority.

How can we live in this way? It is so foreign to our natures. The only way is to remain focused on Jesus and the example He set. Without His humbly offering His life in obedience to the Father's plan, we would be hopelessly lost in our sins. It is only as He set aside His rights (and He is the only One who truly had a claim of superiority over another) that we were able to experience the blessing of God. He was willing to put aside His desires to follow God's plan, wherever it would lead.

We have now experienced the benefit of His love. We have been saved and liberated from bondage to our self-centered nature. Now, we can choose to follow God. Paul challenges us to demonstrate our salvation by the life that we live. Just as God was working through Jesus, now He is working through us. He is working to give us the will and desire to obey. Not only that, but He enables us to do what is necessary to act. As we follow the desire He gives and exercise the ability that He gives, His purposes are carried out, bringing blessing to us and those around us.

This is what took place in the life of Jesus, He did not allow His rights, desires, claims or comfort interfere with God's plan. As a result, we were blessed. As a result, Jesus too was blessed.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

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