Summary: Christians choose to do things out of self-lessness
A matter of the heart – Selflessness
We have been looking a Paul’s letter to the Philippians and how he just seems to exhibit an abnormal response to his current situation.
The first week he opened the letter with prayers to God for the church in Philippi. How they had supported him with prayer, resources and even companionship. He suggests that he is grateful in all situations. He lays a foundation of Joy and encouragement in the greeting.
Last week we found him adding to the idea of being in chains. How his situation, primarily restriction has come to some good. The Praetorian Guard is talking about him and that he is in chains for his God….He mentions how people ….believers in Rome are preaching Christ. Some out of personal gain and position and even to try to cause trouble for Paul and others for the good news itself. Paul is joyful because in each situation Christ is preached… The messenger, the motives are not important …the message is…
The direction that we have been studying in this book is about a time in the faith of Christians when times were hard. Oppressions were painful. Imprisonment for leaders was common. However, it was less about being a Christian and more about what was happening in the culture. The same hardships are shared by most people in a culture. Political oppression and control affects lives. Wars, disease, moral influences affect everything within a culture. So Christians and non-Christians face the same choices and problems.
Looking a Paul and the descriptions he gives of what he knows is happening in Philippi life was pretty hard.
However, Paul demonstrated the attitude of a Christian, a believer is different…and because we count on eternal promises more than earthly protection we respond differently….our response should be so different that people notice.
That sounds like a heavy load to carry. Man it can be so hard to go against the culture. Paul just does not know what we face today…Keeping up with the neighbors and al the stuff they have. All the comforts that are required to be able to not be embarrassed by our situation.
But, Paul does not actually say, ya’ll be like me. Ya’ll watch me.
He just shares what he is feeling and acknowledges how people seem to be responding to what he is going through.
He actually suggests that the response of other people wither in Rome or Philippi is actually a supernatural one.
It is not by his or their strength…It is by the strength in God and the faith the willingness and trust of the people in God’s abilities.
Paul’s letter is a powerful offering of encouragement to people that are trying to live a life of faith and as a part of that life to be an encouragement to other people.
While Paul actually would prefer to die and instantly be in the presence of Christ…he feels that he must remain for the benefit of people wither believers and non believers.
We are not necessarily being asked to face the choice of leaving to be with the Lord. We hope no one, not even Jesus is asking. -- Generally speaking, most of us are willing to do whatever it takes medically to remain exactly where we are because we fear the unknown.
That is the natural response that the majority of people in the majority of cultures. We all have a preference for this life and what we know even if it is limiting and painful.
During this time of cultural problems, financial suffering, global economic crisis, this time of the doom and gloom health pandemic, Christians have an opportunity to live differently. We have the ability to live supernatural lives which influence other people.
-- Today’s reading is about another way that Christians live in opposition to the cultural norms that is expected.
I have started to notice more and more how selfish our world is and it seems to be growing rapidly. I connect the “me” center attitude to the experience of our culture. Everywhere we look we find encouragement in that direction.
It’s not new, I can recall lots of old movies, when a ship is sinking they say” everyman for himself.”
I watch TV I see a variety of selfish sounding commercials that seem so constant, -
like the large numbers of lawyers on TV that want to help people to get paid for their suffering and pain.
- Everyone is a victim drunk drivers, smokers, persons that are injured or unhealed diseases and physical loss.
- The drug companies advertisements related to a pill or a treatment for everything….all thought the statements of side effects scares me more that dealing with the illness. I am most confused by the drug commercials that don’t tell you what good the medicine does…just ask your doctor.