Let us pray: Dear Savior, as the long, hard days of winter conclude, uplift our spirits! Hold before us the empty cross and the empty tomb! Remind us that darkness leads to light and life! Yes, give us the same attitude about living in the here and now that you had—one of self-giving love. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR SAVING LORD!
TEXT: Philippians 2: 5-11
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
Attitude is everything. Doctors know this. Cancer patients who give up and adopt a defeatist attitude succumb far faster than those who retain an upbeat mindset. Players on a team who are positive, even if they have limited skills, are much more popular than “stars” who are always grumpy that others misplayed a baseball. Teachers respect C students who really try more than A students who are lazy and uninterested.
Where does a person’s attitude come from? Some is inherent. Some is learned. Some is a product of family life or perhaps good or bad company. And, of course, all attitude is either uplifted by God or corrupted by Satan along with our inherent sinful nature. Let’s take a quick quiz. When you converse with another are you: 1. Quick of judge them and point out their weaknesses? or 2. Do you seek ways to lovingly built them up without monopolizing the discussion? Are you more concerned with them than with you? I think you know the answers.
As Christians, our attitude about life filled with blessings, leaves something to be desired. All our attitudes need improvement. And today St. Paul lays before us God’s example of all this. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Whoa! That’s a tall order! In other words, get rid of all dissension, pride, hate, grumpiness, arrogance and all other negative emotions and actions that tear others apart.
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
From our perspective, Christ debased Himself. He became a slave to our sins. He took all that nastiness upon Himself. And He didn’t consider that He was a lesser member of the Trinity because of it. He did all this willingly to show us the real meaning of love.
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Think about that. God Who is the Supreme Creator agreed to save His wayward creation. So, the Potter took on the form of a deformed pot. He did so knowing that the pot would be smashed, burned, and ground into dust. That would all happen to Him, the Potter, because He cared about the deformed pots and through His sacrifice of self, all the other deformed pots could be remade and born anew. The only word that describes His attitude is: pure love. Yes, Jesus gave His all—to us!
“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.”
In other words, out of Christ’s passion and death comes Easter and life. Because Jesus laid down His life and His all to save us, His holy Father raised Him to life in heaven at God’s own right hand. Through and because of Jesus’ lovingly giving Himself up to save you, all creatures are forced to confess that His attitude about showing true love permeated all He did and that it alone is worthy of emulating. Moreover, only this kind of undeserved love, or grace, is worthy of praise.
Unless you’re a bump on a log, Paul’s words should shame you a bit. That’s because we know how often our attitude stinks in comparison to Christ’s. But we’re a deformed pot that needs help, we’re not the potter. We don’t remake ourselves, or reform our attitude by ourselves, that’s Jesus’ job. And He both has and is doing so right now! He already paid for our deformities and rose from the ultimate deformity of death in our place. He already has given that status of perfection before God to us via faith. And now He’s working at polishing us by smoothing off all the rough spots. So, armed with His grace, try to appreciate it! You’ll be amazed at how much calmer and happier you’ll be! Follow Christ in ALL Things and you’ll never go wrong. Amen
THE peace of God which….
Pastor Thomas H. Fox