Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement he has brought us, the comfort of his love, our sharing in his Spirit, and the mercy and kindness he has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – Philippians 2:1-4
WFPC: This morning Id like to pick up on the “surrender” theme our church – Wake Forest Presbyterian – has been emphasizing during Lent, and what Philippians has to teach about humility, strength, and surrender.
It’s been a genius campaign. Short, pointed, inspired, Bible-based confessions that continually dig around the deep roots of self that distance us not only from God but from one-another.
Lord, I surrender. I surrender my greed, my addictions, my reliance on self, my defensiveness (that was today’s), my pride, my _________ (you fill in the blank); God, I surrender my constant focus on self to the exclusion of others and the detriment of your kingdom.
KIDS: Children can certainly help vis-a-vis the surrender mode. Not that we should run up the white flag when they’re around – but that, as parents, we naturally move away from the “me first” orientation and we see ourselves first as people in community. It’s one way that God reaches in to teach us deeper truths via the gift of family.
It’s less intense when we’re grandparents, but the presence of the little ones does serve to recapture some of the lessons that have maybe slipped away. We were created in order to love, and to nurture, and to serve, and to encourage, and to enjoy one-another. We were created to experience – and to consciously live into – community.
THE CHURCH: The same is true when it comes to the Body of Christ. My individual relationship with God is important, and so is yours; but it’s the larger, organic, multi-faceted worshiping community that is best understood as Christ’s Body; it’s The Church that bears witness (or doesn’t) to the ongoing work of Jesus.
So I see the surrender of “self” as a crucial element in our responsibility not only to be disciples, to be the Body of Christ.
“Lord, I surrender my (perceived) need to be right all the time, and I intentionally pick up the cause of placing your agenda (which is unity) ahead of my own (which is selfish ambition).”
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
– In love, and because of love – DEREK