Philippians 2: 1-11
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit…..”
Philippians 2: 1
Holy week has begun. This week we can walk, metaphorically, in the footsteps of Christ’s Passion from His triumphal entry into Jerusalem through His death on the cross to His almighty resurrection. Many of us though are isolated in our homes, lives restricted, family and other relationship tensions are increasing and we all look to the present and future with, at the very least concern, if not fear. We can legitimately ask if Easter and Christ make a difference? The answer is a resounding YES, ABSOLUTELY. Here’s how:
Our reading in Philippians tells us of Christ’s journey in humility and obedience from majesty, to humanity, to a horrifying death, to resurrection and return to glory (vs. 6-11). Christ became a man, one of us, like us, and yet without disobedience to God. He truly understands us and is able to help us (Hebrews 2: 18; 4: 15-16). As we put our faith in Him He gives us His Spirit to enable us and empower us. As we are united with Him He gives us encouragement, comfort, love, tenderness and compassion (vs. 1-2). Gifts that can genuinely help us in these days. How does it work practically?
As we spend time with Christ in prayer and study of His Word (the bible); He slowly transforms us and helps us to have His attitude of humility and love (vs. 5). Here is a suggestion to enable this ministry of Christ’s in your life - picture in your mind a child or adult puzzle book. Think of one of the challenges, a maze where you have to find your way to the centre or a mass ball of string and you have to follow your line through the confusion to its origin. Now in prayer tell Jesus of one of the difficulties in your life right now; perhaps tension, or anger, boredom or fear. Follow the maze or string of this emotion till you find its cause (the outward sign being a symptom of an inner source). Perhaps the origin is self-centeredness or resentment towards another or even a fear of death. Give this real issue in prayer to the Lord and ask for His healing and help. Then step out in a deliberate act of faith to overcome this issue. Our reading today suggests putting another’s interest before our own, or being loving and compassionate and being of one mind (vs. 3-4).
Jesus has shown how this is possible as one of us and in His Spirit He gives us the power to imitate Him. Jesus is more than relevant, is more than able, He is absolutely essential.
To Ponder: What are your symptoms of distress and upset? Pray on these matters and ask the Holy Spirit to show you their source. Give that issue to the Lord and ask direction for an act of faith in line with His Word and will. Pray on it with someone you trust then step out in His strength.
Prayer: Lord in our distress and fear give us your encouragement, comfort, tenderness, compassion and unity with you through your Holy Spirit. In your power enable us to walk in humility and obedience in your steps loving you, others and ourselves. May we trust in the power and love of Almighty God that raised you to life enabling our relationship with Him through you. Amen
NB. We will continue with this theme on Wednesday looking at how Jesus helps us with fear and on Friday how He helps us with life and death
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.