Wednesday, January 11, 2017
I think it is safe to say that many of us do with God’s Word what we do in cafeteria style restaurants. We go down the line choosing the itemswe prefer and passing on the items we can do without. To be more specific, there are things in the Word of God that we really take to heart. Therefore, we make a sincere effort to practice and abide by them. On the other hand, there are some words of advice or instruction in the Bible that, though we may not confess it, don’t sit too well with us. With these, whether we read them or hear them in a sermon, and though we may think “ouch” within ourselves at the onset, we often try to pretend they are either not there or else they are not for us but for somebody else we know. In fact, just yesterday one of our church members remarked that my message this past Sunday in the Spanish service was perfect for someone that was present. I hope I didn’t give you the impression that I would never say such a thing for we all think, from time to time, that certain church sermons are perfect for someone we know.
I was thinking about this matter earlier today when I read Paul’s letter to the Philippians, in particular in Chapter 2. In it, the apostle pleads with them to strive to be in one accord. In verses 3-4, he wrote: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” He continued by reminding them of Jesus’ example, that even though He was God in the flesh, He humbled Himself and took the form of a servant and because of it, God the Father exalted Him to the highest level possible. It will be no different for those of us who love God. In fact, Jesus made it clear that “those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Mt. 23:12)
Yes, this word of exhortation in Philippians, just like the entire word of God, is for us too. Perhaps it will do us well to remember that we don’t always have to be right. We don’t have to win every argument. We don’t have to pass every car in the streets and highways. We don’t always have to be heard. We don’t always have to give our opinion. We don’t always have to defend ourselves. We don’t have to always be first in line, and we don’t always have to have our way. Even in Sunday School, children are taught that “it is Jesus first, then others, then you.” Perhaps Jesus was thinking of this very same issue when He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 18:3) We often hear the reprimand “don’t be childish!” Well, perhaps being “childish” every once in a while is not such a bad thing after all.
God’s promise for today: (Matthew 5:8) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”