Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:3-5
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
We continue to explore today what it means for us to "become" ones who have a full and complete participation in God's mission. Today's focus is simple and today's passage addresses it head on. We have a central problem that stands in the way of the expectation God has for us to become ones whose main purpose in life is the mission of compassion he has for the world. The central problem we have is: "self-absorption." Read the passage again keeping in mind that the problem of self-absorption addressed here is directly connected to missions.
This connection is substantiated in two ways: first, today's passage comes on the heels of yesterday's passage. Yesterday's passage dealt with the good work of God within each of us to help us become full participants in his mission to the world. Self-absorption keeps us from the kind of outward orientation to the world around us and the people in it that is so much a part of full and complete participation in God's mission to the world. Second, today's passage says that our self-absorption must be replaced with the same kind of outward orientation to others that Christ modeled for us. How he modeled this for us is seen in verses 6-11 that immediately follow today's passage.
These verses record for us the greatest example of "missions" the world has ever known - Jesus Christ: “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Once again, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” This is what following Christ is all about. This is what being a true disciple of Jesus Christ entails. This is what will lead to each of us becoming full participants in God’s mission to the world. Sunday’s speaker, Brian Weed, missionary to Nicaragua, shared with us the marching orders Jesus Christ has given us. Yesterday, we looked at the first component: “reaching the lost.” The second component is “disciple the saved” by teaching those who have been reached how to follow Jesus. Our need to be made into true disciples of Jesus Christ is the same need of those who are being reachedin Nicaragua.
Each and every one of us at Cape Cod Church has the opportunity to participate as partners with those in this missionary movement who “disciple the saved” and other similar missionary efforts around the world and here at home where God’s marching orders are taken seriously. What an exciting thing to be partners with those who truly “disciple the saved.” Brian gave us a glimpse of how this marching order is being addressed and fulfilled through the missionary movement in Nicaragua. As we go forward in our week, we will focus on the additional components of our marching orders. But for today, please use the component “disciple the saved” as a prayer request. After you have allowed today’s prayer response to help you make your own prayerful response to God, please pray, specifically and expectantly, that the work to “disciple the saved” in Nicaragua would flourish.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I am beginning to get the bigger perspective I need that lifts me above self-absorption and helps me see the big picture of what you are seeking to do in this world. I ask you to help me see more clearly the patterns and habits in my life that are all about me and actually keep me from becoming the "missions" person you want me to be and from engaging in the kinds of things you want me to do. Amen!
Posted on Tue, November 22, 2016
by Ken Hart