What I’m Reading Today: Philippians 2
Like many individuals, I admire my mother a great deal. In fact, when it came to the early formation of my spiritual life she played a bigger role than anyone else. I learned so much from her. I learned what it meant to develop (and implement!) regular spiritual disciplines like daily devotions and prayer. I learned what it means to be a contributing part of a community, and I learned the importance of balancing one’s commitment to missions with the cultivation of one’s spiritual life. All of these were formative lessons for me.
There is one area in which we significantly differ, however. That area has to do with how we view the local church/faith community. Whenever controversies would erupt and people would begin to act poorly, she would say, “It’s disappointing, but what can you expect? The church is full of people – who aren’t perfect - so things like this are bound to happen!”
I could never accept that excuse when it came to accepting bad behavior. I suppose that’s because I take the language in the Scriptures about the church being the body of Christ very seriously. We are called to much, much higher standards than other “organizations”. That’s why I refuse to accept bad behavior in the context of faith community.
Take the language from today’s passage from Philippians. It gives us excellent guidelines for how different our expression of community should be from any other. “Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends,” Paul began. He then went on to add, “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead… Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” He then added, “Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed.”
Best of all, Paul culminated this section of his writing with these wonderfully clear words that give us our charge as people of faith: “Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.”
What a powerful charge for our lives that is! We are to “provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.”
Those final words are words I try use to direct my daily life – in ALL forms of community in which I interact. Today I would invite you to jot those words down – perhaps in your head or on a small piece of paper – and sneak a peak at them throughout the day. See those with whom you interact today get “a glimpse of good living and of the living God.”
Til next time…