For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him. (Philippians 1:29)
Since most of us were little children, we learned that much has been granted to us through Christ our Lord. Not only has he given us the promise of eternal life and a conduit through which we may pray to God, but also love, hope, goodness, compassion, forgiveness, humility, generosity, and a host of other qualities that help us to follow in his steps. We know only too well how much Christ has given us, and give thanks for it often through our prayers, our songs, and even our momentary glimpses into the beauty of our world.
But are we also charged to suffer for Christ? This is an aspect that many seem to give little thought to. How are we asked to suffer? What must we do for Christ? What must we sacrifice or endure for him? This raises some very interesting questions with some very difficult answers.
In verses 1:27 through 2:18 Paul is speaking of Christian unity. On this very significant section of the letter, Paul urged the church members to dismiss their pride and to live and serve together in unity. Anything less falls short of the gospel’s standards. True unity will be recognized by authentic meekness and selflessness, ultimately exemplified in the earthly life of Jesus. The attitude the church should exhibit was the one Jesus maintained.
Jesus’ self-emptying served as the basis for Paul’s exhortation. Philippians 2:5-11, possibly a quotation from an early hymn in praise of Christ, taught that Jesus’ self-emptying led to his exaltation by the Father. Jesus existed in the very nature of God and made himself nothing, not giving up his duty but his heavenly glory and privileges. He lived a life of humble obedience and humbled himself even to the point of dying for sinners on the cross. He was then gloriously exalted in his ascension and resurrection.
May we, like Jesus, be self-emptying. We need not suffer on a cross, but we can work toward being obedient and humble. Grant us the grace to accept this humility and exemplify, as best we can, our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur and Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor.
Columbia Prayer Chain: Thursday, January 24
In our prayers: Claudia Strattman, Jennifer Williams, Betty Jo Carson, Gary Davis, Eddie Bolton, Myrna, Esther, Pam James, Doug and Sharon, John Kelchner, Elizabeth Matthews, Nedrick Griffin, Jennifer Handy, Nancy Stuckey, Annemarie Sullivan, Rachel and Randy Wurtzbaugh, Patty Peckham, Denise Byrd, Greg and Lisa Steele, Dean Timothy Jones, Linda Langford, Marty Fritz, Harriet Hancock, Tommy and Robby Palmer, Patty and Ted Mac Laughlin, Janet Long, Bobby Wilson, Debbie and Pat Barry, Betty Jo Sullivan, Patrick and Patricia Barry, Jordan Hill, Doris Clevenger, Charles Sigel, Bob Davis, John Whatley, Nancy Zuckerman, Charles Davis Sr., Bill Carter, Betty Peavy Frick, Joye Cantrell, Fred and Gail, Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Jerry Callahan, Norman Masters
In memoriam: Samuel L. Cassidy, Chauncey Waldo Lever, Charles Joseph Coble, Lucille Groome Calvo, F. Darrell Davis, Jimmy Denning, Marvin Linwood Pond, Wesley Grover Reynolds Sr., Marion Rogers Snipes
Our prayers are with: the elderly, the homeless, all currently fighting illness, all beloved pets, our president and congress, our police officers and firefighters, all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily.