“…Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose…” ~ Philippians 1:18-2:8.
Intent on one purpose, what should that be?
As I consider that question, I know my heart’s cry is to be like Jesus, who sought the Father and His purpose in all things, desiring the Father’s glory above all. My determined purpose cries out with Paul’s heart to know God intimately, being as one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Philippians 3:8-11, AMP). The only way I see to godly promotion is found in unity with God and His purposes, which are not always easy or convenient, pleasant or desirable to the flesh.
According to this mandate from Paul, standing firm in this fellowship of the Spirit, we find unity of faith that whole-heartedly loves God and one another. That mutual, wholehearted love and unity of purpose makes one willing to deny oneself for the cause of Christ in loving God and others as Jesus exemplified through the power and leading of the Spirit of God.
With like-mindedness, having the same love one for the other, our unity comes in realizing that each of our purpose is to glorify God as God while helping one another to progress forward with joy in this faith, standing firm in it. Having this unity of heart with understanding of this love and humility exemplified in Christ, the only pride of our confidence found within is Christ and Him crucified: we boast in none else. Trusting His sacrifice, we live our lives with the realization of our need of Him, alive within us, uniting us as one in love of God. If you have ever met only briefly another person, and instantly known this unity of the Spirit with him or her, you know what I am talking about.
I read an inspirational quote recently that I cannot seem to find again, but the premise of it rolls around in my head a lot of late. Essentially, it said that in knowing who we are with realization of our purpose, our life choices would follow that path. Knowing who we are as believers of God in Christ does not only mean a realization of our fleshly being. It requires us to know who we are as God sees us, coming to realize His design and purpose in our being in this life at this time. When we know ourselves as God knows us and we know Him in ever-growing intimacy, that understanding dictates our priorities, empowering us to reach our desired end.
As we surrender ourselves fully to God, dying to our own interests that are dictated by our flesh-being trying to resurrect itself, having God’s purpose and priorities as our directive, we possess His heart for our own lives and for those in it with us. This mindset and this fellowship of the Spirit remove all distinctions between us. Always desiring God’s best plan for each individual, we no longer compete against each other. This desire removes all jealousy, each of us living for the other as people, living to please God alone. In so doing, we inspire one another to higher ground on our journey to a humility that leads surely to the exaltation that comes from God.
Each of us surrendering to be one with the Father through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, finding His purpose for our own lives and trusting His purpose for those among us, we come into unity together in the fellowship of His Spirit. In this unity, jealousy that covets what another person has that we admire dies, for our focus is on God and His glory through our being all and only as He is, just as He created us to be. In this unity, the victories we each possess in life bring rejoicing to all, as our hearts bow to the glory of God found in each individual rather than in the exaltation of self.
Jesus set the example as He left the comforts of heaven to come to the cross for our benefit. He set the example through His desire for God’s priorities, purposes, and plans over that of His own or any other person’s desire for Him. Knowing and trusting God’s will made Jesus bold to stand firm in faith and to choose the path ahead in life (John 4:34; 5:20, 30, 43; 6:38; Luke 4:14-30; John 6:1-15). The King of kings set the example as He stepped into the lowliest of jobs saved for the least of the household slaves during that last supper with His beloveds (John 13:1-20). Taking towel and basin to wash their filthy feet, spending precious time in intimate communion with each individual one of them, He instructed us to do for one another as He just did for each of them.
Godly promotion comes to those who fully discover and understand humility that bows to God alone, taking a backseat to others out of faith in God who sees the heart of our surrendered-humiliation. One of the greatest things we can do is to deny self, even stepping into the lowliest of positions for the benefit of others who need the touch of God through us to the glory of God and the good of His Kingdom. Meeting the needs of others as God leads should be our only competition.
Beloved, sometimes bowing to God can mean being humble enough to allow another to wash our filthy feet, just as Peter learned while his Lord bowed to wash his. God knows our heart. He knows who needs the humility of serving others for a while and who needs that of being the one served. Both positions require surrender to God’s will and way, the emptying of ourselves through self-denial, and humility to submit. Following Jesus in surrendered service to God as both one who serves and one who receives the benefit of service is the pathway to promotion in God’s Kingdom.
“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” ~ 1 Peter 5:6, NLT (see verse 1-11, noting especially verses 4-5 and 10).
“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal” ~ John 6:27.
“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege, the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ, and that I may actually be found and known as in Him, not having any self-achieved righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that genuine righteousness which comes through faith in Christ, the truly right standing with God, which comes from God by saving faith….” ~ Philippians 3:8-11, AMP.
“If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” ~ John 7:17.