If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11 NIV
When I was a teenager and read Philippians for the first time, I fell in love with this book that uses various forms of “joy” 16 times. Phil. 2:1-11 is a favorite passage. When we look at how God transforms our relationships, we need the foundation of Phil. 2:6-11 as we are transformed by the Holy Spirit daily, so we are able to live Phil. 2:1-5 daily. In John 3:16, it says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” At the moment we believe in Jesus, we become a new creation, and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in and with us. This happens in an instant, but our transformation into the person God already sees, and wants us to be, happens over time.
As we learn to surrender to God, to his will, to his leadership, and to his teaching in the Bible, our hearts, minds and very lives become transformed. Jesus gives us a wonderful example – in washing the disciples’ feet, then he says, “ ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me “teacher” and “Lord,” and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet,’” John 13:12-14. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he modeled looking out for the interests of others by feeding the hungry, healing the sick and demon possessed, and teaching the people about God’s kingdom.
Paul writes in Romans 12:9-21 about how to actively love our family members, our neighbors, and fellow Christians. In Colossians 3:12-14 he says, “…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Do you think you might need to show more compassion, kindness or patience with someone in your life? Perhaps you need to forgive someone. Read the passage in Romans 12:9-21, the one in Colossians 3:1-17, and Philippians 2:1-11 this week. Ask God to continue the work of transforming your life and heart so you can better display these characteristics in your relationships, and submit to his leading.
By Grace Hunter