Philippians 2:1-11 – “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” NASU
Many times, in my life and in studying scripture I am made aware of my personal deficiencies, spiritually. That is not a shocking revelation but an honest assessment of my human frailty and the incredible need we have for God’s help in living this life He has birthed us into. I love how Paul begins, “…if there is any encouragement in Christ…” IF? He is taking the obvious and using it to point out the incredible deficiency in humans and pointing to the higher plane, in God, that we can not only seek but achieve through the work of the Spirit of God in our hearts. He uses contrast to highlight deficiency and objective and between position and potential.
The prize sought is encouragement in Christ, consolation in love, fellowship in the Spirit and completeness of joy. The danger is falling into the trap of seeking to achieve because of our selfishness, empty conceit, and self-serving pursuits making self, number one in all things. We are reminded of the Life of Jesus and how He was opposite of those negatives and He provided a powerful example of the positives. He ‘emptied Himself’. That is an incredible statement and immediately calls to mind the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Jesus was so completely empty of self that He was willing to be the divine payment for man’s sin by going to the Cross. The result is that the Father has given Him a name above every name and at that name, Jesus, EVERY KNEE WILL BOW and EVERY TONGUE CONFESS that He is Lord! Even the unbelievers will be believers on that day!
But, what is our objective? We all need to be encouraged from time to time and what better source of encouragement than Jesus? We need to be consoled and where better to seek consolation in love than from LOVE HIMSELF? We cannot thrive and survive isolated and need fellowship and what better source of fellowship than from the Spirit of God who knows the deep things of the heart of our Creator? We cannot attain those if we are self-serving, filled with conceit, selfish, and lacking compassion on others. The human heart is desperately wicked outside Christ and achieving those objectives is not possible by will-power, turning over a new leaf, or simply deciding that we will be that way. It takes a supernatural act of God and then requires discipline to develop those traits in our lives while resisting the temptation to follow human depravity and being self-serving.
It is my prayer that the LORD come to us and will touch our lives enabling us to respond to His conviction, in repentance and rise in His grace endued with power from on high to DEMONSTRATE CHRIST to the world in our daily lives.
God, bless you richly is my prayer!