“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2
Paul wrote this letter, not from some comfy office, seated at a fancy desk, but from a prison cell in Rome. His goal in these few verses was to exhort the church to not “..look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:4-5 Wow, that’s quite an exhortation.
Paul reminds us that Jesus was the perfect model of selfless focus on others: “but (He) emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:7-8 NET
Can you imagine if Jesus had had the attitude we sometimes have in our difficulties? When the day of his crucifixion was getting closer and closer, and people were constantly clamouring around him, demanding his attention, a healing, a touch from him – if Jesus had been like me, when I’m having a bad week, he might have turned to them and said “seriously guys, come on. Can you not see that I’m struggling? I’m about to face the biggest trial of my whole life! Can you not give me a bit of support? Or at least stop making demands of me!” But Jesus didn’t do that. He gave, and gave, and continued to pour out of his heart right up until the moment he died. Rather than seeking sympathy from others, Jesus gave all He had to rescue you and I from the tyranny of sin.
Remember the two men crucified on either side of him and how, even through his pain and suffering, his difficulty breathing, the blood pouring down over his face from the crown of thorns roughly, mockingly shoved onto his head, Jesus even took time to talk to, and minister to those men; Assuring the one who desperately needed that assurance, that he would see him in heaven. Jesus had a heart for people.
Our challenge as followers of Jesus is to see through His eyes and respond to the needs of others in His strength, even through our own difficult times. And it IS a challenge. People ‘suck’. I suck!
But Jesus said in Matt 25:45 “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” He didn’t say – “it’s ok if you’re having a bad week, you’re off the hook, you can can take some time off from caring for others”
Let’s walk in step with Jesus today and do what He does best – it’s so much easier when we do it in partnership with Him.