Message from the Minister Letter 17 – Sunday 27 September

Dear all,

I hope and pray that this letter finds you well.  This week we continue with Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  Having low self-esteem or confidence can be a problem for many people today.  As a society we are bombarded with images of what we should look like, how we should dress and what accessories we should own.  Society also informs us that we should be confident, put ourselves first and strive for what we want.  The section of scripture today, Philippians 2: 1-13, tells us of a different approach. 

Paul begins by telling us that by following Christ or acknowledging Christ’s authority we may be one as believers together and united with Him.  We are to be people who act in love and in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, showing compassion when necessary.  By the Philippians doing this it would help make Paul’s joy complete knowing that they are working together, showing love, agreeing as a church to the same course of action and having a similar mindset.   In order to achieve this they will need to make changes.  This too is a challenge for us a church, how do we ensure, we are all ‘pulling in the same direction’ and all our dreams and aspirations are focused on Christ? 

Paul continues by urging not to do anything from selfish ambition or conceit but in all humility regard others better than you.  That is a massive challenge and certainly counter cultural, because it is so easy to slip into ways of ensuring you put yourself first.  We must all be humble and look for the best in others all the time.  If this wasn’t a challenge enough, Paul takes it even further by suggesting you put the interests of others before your own, essentially ensuring others are catered for and satisfied before you are.  He concludes the opening section of the chapter by stating we are to have the mind of Christ.  This is a challenge, not only for the Philippians but also for us today.  It is a way of bringing people together in unity and purpose. 

Paul then begins to unpack what this means in reality.  He explains how Christ was humbled, taking the form of a servant, being born into human likeness and was obedient to God, even to the point of death on the cross.  Due to this, God exalted Jesus and has given him the honour of the name which is above all other names and one day every knee should bend to him and confess that He is Lord over all.  I find those verses explain about what Jesus has done and how He fulfilled the mission He was given so powerful and uplifting that they really are incredible.  How can we in our daily lives be humble, more Christlike and in so doing be united with Him and thus flowing with joy and love?  Let us seek Jesus more and more to become more like Him, and then we can say with Paul our joy is complete. 

May our Lord Jesus Christ, the Name above all other names, bless us now and always,

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