Philippians 2:3

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Philippians 2:3 

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3

Paul in this section, and especially in our focus verse is addressing something that was prolific within the church and thereby being the reason he mentions it; this being pride which ultimately leads to division.  In our focus verse, Paul tells the Church in Philippi not to do anything for the purpose of lifting themselves up and being conceited.  He then continues in the next verse with, “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4.  They were to be focused on meeting the needs of those who they taught and discipled, and not on their own interests.  And they were not to be in competition with the others who taught in the church. 

This was said in order not to have division within the body.  This is a very important idea, for I have seen so many churches today who have found themselves in this situation.  Division comes when different ideas are taught in the church and the teachers attempt to get the church to agree wholeheartedly with their belief.  This causes splits in the church which can cause arguing and competition.  Nothing is to be done through strife.  And we should never allow the church to be separated into sects that then work against each other in order to become more popular and influential than any other.

And this is not healthy for the church.  This can cause churches to split and may cause many to drift away because of the dissention caused by the split.  This is not what God wants in the church.  Paul writes to the Church in Corinth the following regarding unity, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10.  Paul is saying the church needs to be in unity, and when I say church, I mean not just individual churches but also the  church corporate.  Unfortunately, the enemy has creeped into the Church and has divided the people, often through differences of beliefs.  I have attended a church where some believed in the doctrine of Calvinism which states God has selected some people to be saved and others not to be.  And it is not their choice, for God has predestined some to salvation, while the rest cannot be saved.  Others would speak against this doctrine declaring it to be heretical.  Unfortunately, these differences would be discussed in Bibles Studies which caused confusion in the class and caused new believers to question their decision. 

He then tells the Church “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 2:5.  We need to take on this attitude as well.  Christ labored to promote no separate interest; as man he studied to promote the glory of God, and the welfare and salvation of the human race.  He ministered in humility, focusing on the Father and His purpose.  This was His focus and it should be ours as well.  “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8.  This is the way that Christ spread the good news here on earth.  He did not consider, as a man, equality with God something to be grasped.  Instead, He emptied Himself, being humble and obedient to the point of death, where He gave His life to give everyone the opportunity to be saved.  This is the Son of God who knew no sin but died for ours.  In essence, He put us ahead of Himself.  This is true love He and the Father had for us.

As He humbled Himself to serve us, we should humble ourselves to serve others.  This is our calling and our purpose here.  We must humbly witness to the lost and in training the saved, not looking at how we can look good and impress others, but how we can put other’s interests and needs above our own.  When we do this, we will do the work God just as Christ did.  And we will be amazed at how God will work through us to do His good pleasure.   

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Colossians 3:12

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Colossians 3:12 

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12

Paul starts with telling the Colossians they have changed from the ways of the world to the ways of God.  “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created hima renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.” Colossians 3:9-11.  They are not the same persons they were prior to becoming Christians.  They have put on the new self, ones who have abandoned the ways of the world with all the evils that were the norm of their old lives.  For they have put on the new self that comes with accepting the salvation Christ presented and have become a totally different person.  They are not who they used to be.

Paul then moves forward with this idea by saying, in our focus verse, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12.  The idea of the word “So” is “Therefore”.  He is telling them they have been saved and are now Christians, they should therefore live as such.  Because they have chosen to accept Christ as Savior, have put on Christ, it is essential that they show forth the attributes that signify this change.  They cannot put on the new life without living it, because this change is not by name only, that is they are Christians as opposed to not being a Christians.  Paul is laying out what putting on the new self actually means.  He lists five attributes that show the reality of this change in how they deal with their fellow men and women, whether they be Christians or not.

First, there is compassion.  This is an inward, tender and real mercy shown to all men.  It is doing good in  providing for the real needs we see, either in providing goods or in showing love and encouragement to them.  Next is kindness, showing love and mercy with cheerfulness to all men.  Third is humility, in essence looking at others more highly then ourselves, putting others before ourselves.  Then gentleness, or meekness, which shows itself in not being envious of what others have or what they can do.  And finally, patience.  This is probably the most difficult of the five.  This is bearing the evil words or actions of another and is not easily provoked to wrath or anger themselves.

He them goes on in verse thirteen with, “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” Colossians 3:13.  These are important qualities that go along with our focus verse in showing how Christians should be.  All of these acts in verses 12 and thirteen, should be expressed no matter what has occurred.  They should be universally acted out, no matter what has occurred by whoever.  This is especially true though in  our interactions with fellow Christians.  Note the words in the above verse, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, just as the Lord forgave us.  Paul told the Corinthians the following, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1.  Paul was saying, follow my ways where I follow Christ’s ways. 

This should be our focus in this life, do as Christ did.  And the only way we can do this is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit that resides in us.  It is hard sometimes to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient with others.  It can also be difficult to bear with another and forgive when a serious wrong is done against us.  However, this is our calling in Christ.  Nobody ever said this life was easy, but it is what we are called to.  We are to reach out to a lost world, and how better to do that than to be loving to them, showing them the better life God has promised us by our actions and words of grace.  And no matter how difficult it gets, God will be with us, just as He was with the Israelites while journeying to the promised land.  And these words Moses spoke to all of Israel as he tells them He will not be crossing the river Jordan with them are applicable to us today.  “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6. No matter what God calls us to do, He will be with us all the way.  And He is calling us to live a pure and holy life as outlined in Colossians 3:12-14.  And also the word of Paul to the Colossians to comfort them, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body: and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:15-17,

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.