HOW TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER
In this article I am going to explain how Paul talks about suffering, goes into the very essence of Jesus Christ from the backdrop of troubling times and speaks about proper behavior. Much of this writing will explain how everything ends in the Person of Jesus Christ. That is a much-needed message in this world because we are drilled into believing that everything ends in whatever culture we live in so take heed because the Bible outlines a very different story and reality. Societies come and go but Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living Eternal God.
"For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake."1:29. The two main verbs in this verse are believed and suffer. Both are gifts that God grants us the privilege as His children to exercise through the Person of Jesus Christ. Notice the order --- first, we put our trust in God which is a decision and then we are able to suffer for the kingdom of God which usually means some sort of loss but the reduction in our lives is directly correlated to standing up for Jesus Christ in one way or another. We should be willing to stand up for this truth because this is the truth that stood up for us. His name is Jesus Christ.
"Having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me." 1:30. They saw Paul suffer with their own eyes and they heard of the trouble he was going through but did not see it with their vision. Suffering in and of itself is not a sufficient explanation for this verse because eventually everybody goes through issues in life but there is always a "Cause" for persecution and in this case, it was for Jesus Christ. Paul also came out with the proper spirit on the other side. He did not say, "I have to go through this ring a roll every single time --- come on man" but endured it with patience for God. Apparently the Philippian church was going through the same thing they "Saw" and "Heard" regarding the life and example of Paul. This tells me they were living right for Jesus Christ. Of course that is the question we need to be asking ourselves.
"If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies." 2:1. If Jesus Christ is consoling us we will love one another because this divine encouragement is an overflow to others. If I do not love others I should not expect to much consolation from God. If the Holy Spirit is loving me then there is a sense of comfort but we must also be diligent in giving affection back to God. Love is always a two way street so if we believe it is one sided then some sort of deception has blinded our minds.
When Paul talks about the ..."Fellowship of the Spirit"... he is talking about our communion with God through Jesus Christ in the presence of the Holy Spirit but we are to be like minded so if you feel one of your brothers or sisters in Christ is struggling with this issue gently guide them back to Jesus Christ. As I look back on my somewhat fragile life I remember the people that were brash with me about walking with God and it did not resonate in my spirit but I do recall the gentle Fathers in Christ were highly effective. We can go over to the bull and pull him by his horns or we can gently call the animal over to us.
Paul talks about any bowels of mercy because the Holy Spirit does comfort us but if we are compassionate to others that goes straight back to the heart of Jesus Christ. In this scenario we see a triangle (God at the top and us and others at the bottom two points) so all are showing mercy in this connected appointment from heaven.
When Paul says fulfill ye my joy he was talking from the backdrop of a minister. Your Pastor probably won souls to Jesus Christ but enjoys seeing the congregation one in Jesus Christ. If division is in the church sorrow tends to fill the soul. If you think your teacher is strong especially in light of something like that then you need to understand how weak leaders can be when Jesus Christ is not in the center of the church. I have been to churches like this and walked out miserable. The whole verse says, "Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." 2:2. Then he goes on to say, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." 2:3.
We can walk into church and oppose a person or group but we are confessing through our actions that we are against them. More importantly we are not with them in spirit being one in Jesus Christ. I know how it is because I have been around the block a couple of times. A Christian comes storming in head strong wanting to get their particular schema across usually regarding a slant on doctrine and if he or she were to examine themselves it becomes more about them than Jesus Christ or caring for others. They just want to be right with no real regard for anybody else. Christians often times desire pride in their hearts as opposed to being humble. I know because when I was young I had zeal without wisdom. It would be far more wise to wait if somebody asks us a question and then answer very soft with as much detail as possible. We may want to ask, "Where are you coming from with this particular subject after we answer but with respect and a genuine spirit of caring. Wow what if we did this in a relationship?
Paul talks about esteeming others in lowliness of mind better than ourselves so if judgment starts in the house of God then that rule would apply to how we judge ourselves. We should be very hard on our faults and charitable in judgment of others. We sow what we reap so we don't have to worry about anybody getting away with anything and besides most people are very tuned into their sins --- they know who they are and what they did or are doing in the flesh. They need to know who they are in Jesus Christ and this is where we come in because we can gently explain these truths little by little so our brothers and sisters in Christ are more secure in their faith. I'm not saying we don't need to deal with our sins but most Christians that I know of are wobbling like children just trying to walk. Our role is to help them not oppose who they are because we are suppose to be with them in Spirit and one in Christ. We are a family. It is not about us it is about Jesus Christ and love toward one another.
Look for the gift in other people and let them know because they may not understand but we should not promote the abilities God gave us because now we are pointing to self. If I am helping anybody I understand it is the grace of God because I know me. I'm the one that sees all of my shortcomings. It is God who causes the growth. Paul even gets more detailed when he says, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." 2:4. Our interest should be in the concern for others with love. Believe this or not human beings have radar inside them because they know when self is on the throne and when there is genuine empathy for other people. If we ever want to know what the opposite of Christian love is then all we have to do is look at our selfish spirit if we have one inside of us. To get even more specific if we took on our brother or sister's case as our own then that is true Christian love.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." 2:5. If there are two attributes that come to my mind immediately that Jesus possesses it would be humble and meek. Not once does the Apostle Paul ever say in any of these verse to rise up in our own strength. If anything the Bible is saying to be low minded. If we do this then we can see another person for who they are and be like minded in Jesus Christ. It does not hurt to ask Jesus Christ for His spirit. God honors prayer requests like this because it is glorifying to Him.
If you do not know Jesus Christ in a personal way resist putting the Son of God on trial based on the bad behavior of some Christians. I have seen this on several occasions. If you must do this then give Jesus Christ a fair trial based on who He really is and what He is like in His being. He has got so much character that when He came to earth in His flesh He did not even sin once. He is our perfect sacrificial atonement because He died on a cross for our sins and took our place. He conquered death by raising from the dead on the third day. This is someone that I would like to get to know. I hope you feel the same way. If this is the case then accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting Him into your life. This is not only a decision for your life but for all eternity.
God Bless you,