We live in a world of expectations. They are passed on to us from parents, spouses, children, bosses, friends, teachers, coaches, strangers, officials – from practically everyone. Some people are willing and faithful to follow those expectations, while others are more likely to ignore, circumvent or even rebel against them. Regardless of where we fit on that scale, as Christ followers, we need to prioritize the expectations given to us by our Lord and Savior. Check out this passage in the book of Philippians.
“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.”
Paul challenges his fellow Christ followers to have the proper perspective on Christian living. He provides both the motivation and the method, which is grounded in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Did you notice the “if” statements in the first couple of lines? These four conditions should motivate any Christian to live according to the expectations of Jesus. First is our salvation, the reassurance of being made alive in Christ. Second, love, the comfort provided from God and fellow believers. Third, our fellowship with the Holy Spirit and with other believers. Finally, tenderness and compassion, the attitudes and actions demonstrated to and from other believers.
It is clear that Paul knows these conditions are characteristic of the believers at Philippi. As a result, he leads them to the expected response. Like them, we too are to have the following three-fold response; be unified, be selfless, and be humble.
Imagine if we, as individuals and a body of believers, could live with these three characteristics in our lives and our church. What would it look like for us to become unified in our actions, selfless in our purpose and humble in our attitude?
We all know the Christian life is a journey of growth and development. It is a process of being sanctified and becoming more like Christ. Well, this is his expectation for us – living with these characteristics in our lives and displaying them faithfully to one another.
My prayer today is that I would live more and more like my Lord each day and learn to be genuinely unified, selfless, and humble in all I do. Let me encourage you to seek the same end. After all, this is what Jesus expects of you and me.
Pastor Brian Freerksen