Philippians – The Happiness Letter
“To be happy in Jesus, is to trust and obey”…this song still rings sweetly in my ears. It takes me back in time when I was a little girl who adored her grandpa who led the singing at the church where I grew up. (That’s what it was called in those days versus the current title of “worship and arts director”.) This was one of his favorite hymns of praise! So it was mine.
I knew at every baptism service he would choose this song the congregation would sing as an interlude while the dunked, wet people would change their clothes. We would sing it loud and long, all the verses, as the we, the congregation would file out, row by row, from our pews to congratulate the soggy saints who now stood up front. There were smiles, tears, and lots of hugs. The song’s message was an encouragement to now be happy in Jesus. You’ve got the message, you “get it”, so now be like Christ. “Trust and obey for there’s no other way…”
Paul reminds the Philippians of pretty much the same attitude to have…the attitude of Christ who gave his all that we might live. “…for there’s no other way.”
Philippians 2, The Message
1-4 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.
5-8 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. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11 Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
What do we learn?
–Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
–If you “get it”, be like Christ!
Dear Heavenly Father, I do get it. Forgive us when we think only of ourselves and our focus on You and others gets blurry. Thank you for restoring our “soul sightedness” this morning. Thank you for the encouragement your Word and Your Holy Spirit give us. Be our strength as we live, trust and obey. In Jesus Name, Amen