To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
March/April 2016 Issue – Straight from the Heart, ‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’ Philippians 1:7
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Philippians 2:1-4 (NIVUK): ”Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in 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 of one mind.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
[Before I talk about today’s study, I’ll briefly address a comment I received about the apostle Paul, which basically said that the Paul did not preach the same gospel as Jesus.
There is nothing in Paul’s letters concerning spiritual truths which contradict the words of Jesus as recorded in the gospels. Furthermore, we have verses like Acts 9:15, “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man (Paul) is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.'”
Paul may have written hard things in some of his letters but Jesus words on a number of occasions were so confronting that they caused some of His followers to leave.
Now, let us look at today’s study.]
Selwyn writes: “The second chapter of Paul’s letter, opens with his continuing plea for Christian unity.
First, that they might think alike, to have a mindset that shows common allegiances and loyalties. Second, that they should have not just the same mind but the same love for one another, to share the same feelings and attitudes since their lives have been bound together in common accord. Third, he encourages them to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Is it possible to really live like this – unitedly, lovingly, selflessly, harmoniously? Yes, if we live with and in Jesus.
Jesus is the stimulator of our mind, our emotions and our will. He stimulates our mind to think His thoughts, our feelings to feel as He feels, and our will to do the kind of deeds He would do if He were in our shoes.”
We see this type of unity in the very early Christian church, but to be honest I haven’t seen a lot of on-going Christian unity in many of the churches that I’ve been associated with. Sure, there have been times when people have shared the same mind, love, feelings and attitudes in-Christ, but these times have been like shooting stars across a dark sky – not that common and all too short in duration.
If, you are in a loving and harmonious Christian church that is always united and acts selflessly towards all its members and also acts with love towards the local and global communities then you are especially blessed – praise God!
As Selwyn has said – it is possible to live with the same attitudes as Jesus and we have the Holy Spirit within us to help us to be like Jesus – so, why is it so hard for many of us to be totally united?
What are your thoughts on this topic?