If you didn’t read last week’s start to this particular study, you can find that here.
I am reminded, as I read these chapters just how much I love Philippians and how much it challenges me. If I were to put a theme to chapter 2, it would be “It’s not about you.”
Paul starts by challenging the Philippians to unify in love, spirit, and purpose. To put each other first. To leave behind selfish ambition and vain conceit. To be like Christ.
Because Christ was equal to God, but he didn’t come to the earth to teach us how to be equal to God. Instead, he came to teach us humility and obedience. To take on a servant’s role. And it was through subservience that God exalted him in heaven. Because you know God loves to turn societal definitions and expectations on their head.
And here’s my motto for the week:
It makes me want to sing that “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” song. But as I was humming the tune, I realized how different God’s shine might be from the world.
Jesus, of course, attracted people to him. His words, his actions, the miracles, the kindness, and forgiveness. He definitely shined. Even experienced a bit of a celeb status at times, but it wasn’t something he was chasing after. He wasn’t trying to shine for the world to see him. He was shining on the world to let them know that God saw them. That God saw their pain and their hurt, and Jesus was sent to give them rest, to extend to them forgiveness and healing, to die so that they may be saved.
And here, Paul is saying the same thing. Don’t do things out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Don’t seek the attention, the acceptance, the praise of men. Seek to submit to the will of God. God will see you shine, even if men remain blind. Complaining comes with a sense of entitlement, but we see reality. We are chosen by God, true, and we are precious in His sight. But we have done nothing to deserve that status. We are not actually entitled to any of it. But it’s given to us anyway.
So whatever it is that God wants me to do to further his Kingdom, I will try to submit and obey and remember the example of Jesus. To not complain but encourage. To not argue but submit. To do nothing in selfishness or vanity, but instead, seek out the overlooked and ignored and isolated, and share the love of God with them.
May we all shine this week.