Monday, September 20, 2010

Humility and Obendience

"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."
Paul is explaining how the greatest act of humility is the most worthy of praise. Paul leaves no doubt as to how worthy of honor and praise Jesus is. So worthy of praise that EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess Him as Lord.

I'm challenged today by the obedience of Christ. He was obedient to the point of death. By His grace, I can be obedient. Although, He has only called me to obedience to the point of dying to myself and to potential rejection...much less than the point of death, even death on a CROSS! There is something God has continually been placing on my heart to say to someone and I haven't wanted to because of the potential strife it may cause and quite simply it will make me uncomfortable. Praise the Lord for leading me to this verse to encourage and challenge me to be obedient to the point of "potential" strife and discomfort by reminding me that He was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Until the Whole World Knows,
Jonathan Sharp

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Live or Die?

"If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better." - Philippians 1:22-23 -
Paul is sorting through whether he wants to live or die in this part of his letter to the Philippians. He writes this from Rome while he is in prison and on trial, so no doubt dying is an option. Side note, this is his first imprisonment and he is eventually released and goes on to write I and II Timothy and Titus. His letter to the Philippians is summed up in two words, "Gospel and Joy". He just wrote before this how it is his eager expectation and hope that he would not be at all ashamed but that with full courage, now as always, Christ would be honored in his body, whether by life or by death. And then the familiar, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

I love how in these verses Paul shows that he KNOWS he will have fruitful labor if he lives. He fully trusts the Holy Spirit's continued working in his life. He has seen it over and over again to a point that the debate is over...everyday he wakes up wondering how God will use him to be fruitful with the Gospel. That said, make no mistake about it, dying and being WITH Christ is FAR better than living. Nothing compares with being with Jesus. This letter is full of Paul showing how far better Christ is (see chapter 3). Of less importance is how this verse combats the idea of "soul sleep", in other words when you die, you are with Christ, not "sleeping" until the resurrection of your body.

Sometimes I wonder if God will work through me and produce fruitful labor. Paul encourages me because he has no live in the flesh MEANS fruitful labor. This also combats any fear of death (not that I have that in the USA) because if you die as a believer you are with Christ.

Lord, help us to fully trust the working of Your Holy Spirit as Paul did. Thank You for his example to us.

Until the Whole World Knows,
Jonathan Sharp