Paul tells the church, "Do me a favor". In doing their pastor a favor, the church would also be doing itself a favor. The book of philippians is filled with Joy and therefore reveals some of the keys to having Joy. In the passage below, Paul really challenges the church to live in harmony, develop deep-spirited relationships, and to become servants to one another. The phrase, "Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand" is very appropriate to the day and age we live in. We are at times so busy with our own things that we find it difficult to lend a helping hand to anyone.
If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care-- then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. (Philippians 2:1-6 MSG)
The King James Version reads, "Fulfil ye my joy". Can I say this? The Apostle Paul wrote this, inspired by God, and he 'NAILED IT' as far as I'm concerned. There is probably nothing that can take the joy out of ministry more than believers who refuse to live in harmony, develop deep-spirited relationships, and become servants. On the flip side of this is that their is nothing that is more exciting than seeing a church living in harmony.
The truth is, when we determine to live in harmony, develop deep-spirited relationships, and be servants...we not only please God and fulfil our pastor's joy, we also find true joy for ourselves. The key to living this passage out is found at the end, when it says, "Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what". We must be humble in order to please God and find real joy.
Did you notice the last three words of the passage? "no matter what". I think that is the ultimate sign of pride. We are determined to get our way 'no matter what'. No matter what it does to our testimony, our family, our friends, our church, and even ourselves. We're like the little kid that takes his ball and goes home when things don't go his way. We must never forget that the mission is far more important than us having things our way.
God is in control. He is always in control (Ask Jonah). Don't forget, things are supposed to be HIS WAY, not my way.
Enough for a Saturday morning.