When’s the last time that someone said something that hurt you or accused you of something? How did you react?
Were you mad? Did you want to do something?
My initial reaction, I’m going to be real with you, tends to be a mixture of hurt and anger. Especially if it’s not true, I feel the need to correct this misunderstanding or accusation.
Why am I so concerned with how someone perceives ME as opposed to who I should be representing?
I love Philippians as Paul gives such a beautiful portrayal of Christ’s humility as well as his own.
Philippians 2:1-11 reads,
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who , though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so 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.”
How can I get mad when someone slanders my name, when Christ humiliated himself not only to becoming the creation in order to save us, but also submitting himself to being murdered as a blasphemer? The simple answer? Pride. The not-so-simple solution? Humility.
In further thought on this subject I thought about when the last time I got really angry or hurt about injustice in the world, or people suffering real things that are living much more righteous lives than the one that I have led. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (1:21)
That’s such a confusing verse. How is living Christ? That sentence sounds grammatically flawed.
To claim that living is Christ, is not making some lofty statement about one’s self, in fact, it’s the opposite. This verse, to me, embodies the idea of dying to ourselves and our sin and being made alive in Christ.
When you truly have this kind of mindset, and are not worried about yourself, but instead concerned with the cause of Christ and fellowship with believers, you are able to truly live for Christ.
I quote Paul in saying, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brother, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (3:12-15)
I have not, by any means, reached this point. I am merely writing you to share my conviction in hopes that the Holy Spirit will speak through my experience with scripture to your experience.
Join me in avoiding defending ourselves when it’s only our names that are at stake and saving our energy for others and for the sake of Christ.
Pray for me, a sinner.