Following Christ and following His example and teaching of how to live is a high calling. We're called to live in a way that is counter-cultural.
When I was at Bible college, the words of Philippians 2 became familiar. My first year, part of this chapter was the theme verse for my hall. And my second year, a large part of it was the theme for the entire school. Philippians 2 is a chapter I find myself returning to continually and finding that there is still more I can learn from it.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 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 others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped;
rather, He made Himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself
be becoming obedient to death -
even death on a cross!
Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place
and gave Him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God in a crooked and depraved generation." Then you will shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain.
In these words, Paul calls the church at Philippi to a high standard of living. And that same call is extended to us. It's a standard we can't meet on our own, but Paul also speaks of how we get what we need to live it in this passage. Thankfully, we can assured that God will "work in us to will and to act according to His good purpose." (vs. 13). It's not up to our own willpower to do this. It's God in us.
For the next while, some of my posts are going to take a look at exactly what is being said in this passage and how God is calling us to live as His followers.