by Philip Layton
Paul encourages the Church to press on in holiness
- Does it sound like living as a Christian is easy or something that needs working at (vv 13, 14)?
- Was Paul teaching a Rapture theology (vv 20, 21)? (Dead and living Christians will be taken to Heaven at a time of God’s choosing.)
Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag. Don't forget this week's Children's Challenge!
Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
Christ emptied himself of everything to be like us – in order to identify with the dispossessed of this world.
I recall the testimony of a Salvation Army officer who was appointed to a shanty town. At first all was failure and disappointment. But after a few years he was openly accepted among the people of that community and had surprising success in his ministry. The change came when, in desperation, he had to admit that his love fell short of his own expectations. He could not love people with such a different culture to his own. When he ‘abandoned’ everything on which he relied – wisdom and other strengths – in order to depend solely on Jesus, he received power and blessing from God in everything he undertook.
This officer learned not to rely on his own strength and skills, but to be one with that community – a ‘channel’ by which God could pour out his blessings upon the people. And God used him. He even witnessed a ‘multiplication of loaves and fishes’ in a Christmas celebration he attended at a distant outpost. More than three times the number expected came and, in the end, people took leftover food home.
The name of Jesus was lifted high and revival came. Many lives were changed by the Holy Spirit in that place. People felt that Jesus was present, and he was – in the person of this officer.
Would we like people to say the same of our lives? We are to abandon everything, then identify ourselves with Christ and with those for whom he died and rose again. To love them as he would love them. Then soon he will touch their lives according to his will, for the glory of God.
Beverly IvanyTags: Philippians