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Devotional: June 18, 2021

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Philippians 2: 1-4 The Message

In the eyes of the world, life is full of people are pushing, cajoling, and forcing their way to the front of the line. It is a bleak picture which implies that only the strongest survive. A kind of “dog eat dog” world. This is far beyond friendly competition. From this worldly viewpoint, it seems like some people are literally at war with the world, and see everyone else as a rival or an enemy.

Christ shows us a different way, and a much better option. Here, the Apostle Paul reminds the Philippians that we should aim for cooperation, agreement, friendship, and even love as we deal with one another. Putting others ahead of ourselves, and adopting a servant attitude is what it means to be a follower of Christ.

My friend Paul prominently displays his top priorities. Number one is God. Number two is others. And number three is himself. This follows scripture’s guidance completely:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.” (Matthew 22:37)

“You shall love your neighbor, as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

When people put their energy and focus on these goals, the anger and hatred so present in our world can dissipate. May we all develop a heart for serving others, and show others what a heart for the Lord looks like.

Prayer

Loving and Holy God,

I want to follow Your son, Jesus. Help me to remember and heed His call to love You completely, and to love others as myself. May my priorities reflect Your priorities. Create within me a heart to serve others, rather than allowing my selfishness to rule my life. Help me to tune my ears to Your call to service, rather than the world’s call to indulgence. I pray this prayer in the name of Your son, and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


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