There’s silence in the house.
My girls are at band camp this week. It’s just a day camp at their school, but they leave the house by 8:30am and get home around 3:30pm. It’s good for us to be getting back into some kind of routine before school starts again in two weeks. All of that to say that maybe this will be the week that boosts me back into some regular blogging activities!!
When I’m in between Bible studies, I default to reading through my favorite books of the Bible. In the Old Testament, that’s usually Isaiah (Psalms is also a favorite, but I already have the habit of reading a chapter there daily). In the New Testament, it’s typically Philippians. There’s so much in that book that tells me how to live the Christian life successfully!
While I’ve read Philippians many times, it struck me last week just how practical it is. If I followed its principles, I know I’d see growth in my spiritual life. I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will give me strength and guidance to use what I’m learning there to live for God. Below are four principles from chapter two that will help me do exactly that.
1. Keep a lowly mind.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” ~Philippians 2:3
Do you see that it is says “Let NOTHING be done through strife or vainglory?” That means that I shouldn’t do anything out of bitterness or anger (not typically so much of a problem for me as I tend to have a peacemaker personality). But the vainglory part – doing nothing with the desire of getting glory for myself, just hoping I’ll get noticed, with pride as my motive? That one I definitely struggle with!
This sets the stage for the second part of the verse, which deals with how I view myself and others. It’s easy to tell my kids “put others first,” but hard to live in front of them. Am I putting myself first when I won’t let someone pull ahead of me in traffic? How about when I secretly race to beat someone to the checkout line at the grocery store? (Is that just me???) How about if I work behind the scenes to get my children placed ahead of others in some scenario? None of those are evidence of having a meek and gentle spirit.
2. Have a servant’s heart.
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” ~Philippians 2:7
Of course this verse is referring to Christ. If you read verse 8, you might begin to realize the magnitude of Christ’s servant hood. He emptied Himself of His heavenly glory, took on the form of man, and willingly died on a cross for our sins.
Jesus CHOSE to humble himself. And I get to choose every day if I’m going to humble myself. Look at all that Jesus gave up for me. Will I give up my rights, subdue my pride, do that job that no one else wants to do?
3. Cultivate a contented spirit.
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” ~Philippians 2:14
Well, I would say that’s pretty plain. Here we are again with those absolutes – “Do ALL things…” Doesn’t leave much room for argument, does it? Without complaining or arguing, I’m to go about my daily business.
I think this ties in to verse 13, which says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” To me, that says that God is doing His work according to His plan and for His glory in my life. So why would I complain about what He’s doing or argue that it shouldn’t be this way?
4. Shine as a light in the world.
“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” ~Philippians 2:15
Living out the three verses listed above leads us to this one. If I’m following what Paul wrote earlier in the chapter, I’m going to be different than the unsaved people around me. Our flesh usually defaults to a prideful, me-first, unhappy-when-things-aren’t-going-my-way spirit. I can draw others to Christ if I’m showing them the opposite of what comes naturally to us all.
Let’s choose to live today with a lowly mind, a servant’s heart, and a contented spirit so that we can shine as lights for Jesus and show His love to others.