Paul says, "Grow up! Don’t remain where you were when you first received grace and committed to discipleship." It is so tempting to revel in the moment, to build an altar at the place so we can hold on to the feeling. But to do so, Paul says, is to be subject to the cunning of false prophets or teachers.
“Speaking the truth in love” was a common phrase I heard growing up. I didn’t understand it, and I usually heard it before someone said something that would hurt. “I say this to you with love, but…”
Paul calls believers to mature in their faith as individuals, and also as a Christian community. Why are both important? Because the two support each other. A maturing individual teaches and leads others to grow in their faith.
Every part of the body has a job to do. The various parts work together so the body grows up healthy. Speaking the truth in love is a way for all the members to help one another mature and function properly. If I’m really a hand but think I’m the heart, then I need to be gently and clearly corrected and helped so I fulfill the function I was made for.
“Speaking the truth in love” is a life-changing phrase in scripture. I know because it changed me. I remember a time when I felt deep dissatisfaction whenever I felt nudged to speak the truth. I was concerned about appearing harsh or offending, so I would sometimes speak in half-truths or simply remain silent.
In our revised format for First 15, each Saturday we invite you to look back on how God has spoken to you during your reflection throughout the previous week.
Paul is clear. We should have the same mindset, attitude, and relationship with others as Christ did. What relationship are we talking about? Paul is clear here also.
Writer and political activist, Anne Lamott, while presenting the Ted Talk “12 Truths I’ve Learned from Life and Writing,” had this to say about “truth.” “[All] truth is a paradox.” I don’t know if that is fully quantifiable, but it is certainly compelling.
In the first century, the great leaders and rulers were known for their might, intelligence, and power. If a king or conqueror was particularly good at it, people would say he was divine, sent by God or the gods. Jesus wasn’t the first one to be called divine or even Messiah.
In Ephesians 4:1, Paul describes who we are as “prisoners for the Lord.” When I imagine what it’s like to be a prisoner, my mind goes to a restricted existence with sloppy cafeteria food and a regimented routine that varies very little day-to-day.
Why would the Apostle Paul give us such a lofty goal to adopt the same mindset as Christ Jesus in our relationships with one another? Are we capable?
Paul is calling the Philippian church to something we long for in this world. UNITY! He gives the Philippians a list of reasons they should be unified.
I recently had a wonderful conversation with one of our members. While discussing our current socio-political climate, I thought about the difficulty of unity.
This charge from Paul seems impossible right now. In the midst of 2020, how can we possibly be like-minded, love each other completely, and look to the interests of others above our own?
It has been granted to the church in Philippi that they believe in Christ and that they suffer for him (1:29). It is a struggle the church shares with Paul.