Scripture

Phil 2:1-11

1 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, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Reflection

We spent last week focusing on the discipline and practice of gratitude. This week I want to invite you to focus on another essential practice for cultivating and nurturing the joy we experience in Christ.

We start by looking at the “hymn” we find in Philippians chapter 2 celebrating the mindset and character of Christ. I refer to verses 6-11 as a hymn because it is one of several places in the New Testament letters where the structure of the writing leads many scholars to believe that this may have been an early hymn or affirmation shared among various Christian communities as the Gospel first spread across the Roman world.

Look again with me at verse 2 where Paul says, “make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” The emphasis here is not only on a unity of spirit and mind among the believers, but of much greater importance there is for each of us to be unified in spirit and in mind with Christ himself.

And how exactly does one do that you might wonder? The remainder of today’s passage is our answer. It represents the pattern of Christ’s life that we are meant to model in our life.

Today, I want to encourage you to go back and read through verses 3-11 slowly. As you do, take a minute to either write down or underline the key words or phrases that stand out in your mind. You might want to read through these verses more than once and simply allow God’s Spirit to bring to your attention the words you need to see in today’s reading.

When you are done, take a look at what you have written down.

\What do you notice?
How do the words express the pattern of Christ’s life?
In what way do you feel challenged today to more closely follow the pattern of Christ’s life?

Prayer

Holy and loving God, I want to pattern my life after the life of Jesus. I recognize that my thoughts, words and deeds are often shaped by the world in which I live rather than the pattern you have provided for me. As I move throughout this day, help me to live more closely in line with your heart and your intentions for my life and for others. May your will be done in my life even as I seek to partner with you in bringing your will into the world. AMEN.