'Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity . Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. ' Philippians 2:3-4
I stood in the parking lot outside the prayer room on a humid July summer night to listen to a friend sharing his heart about all of the craziness of 2020. The headlines of the week were riots in the streets, shut downs in our city, and a lot of political tension and division gripping the church. As he shared with true transparency and authenticity, he looked at me with an intense bewilderment. "Cassidy," he said, "Can I ask you a question? How can any person claiming to be a follower of Jesus call themselves a democrat?" I paused for a moment and sighed. I looked down to gather my thoughts. I could hear his genuine passion for the word and righteousness in his question (per context to our conversation) as he searched to find an answer. I looked into his eyes with compassion and brokenness as I felt the heart of the Father breaking. I placed my hand on his shoulder as the Holy Spirit spoke through me, "Bro, you're asking the wrong question. The question is 'Lord, how can I cherish the unity you have given us as a body when I don't understand my brother or sisters ideas?'" He inhaled deeply and then exhaled like the pressure of 10 tons had been lifted off of him. We continued our conversation as I shared my heart and deep desire to walk free of my own "pride filled opinions" and to truly "possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of my own interests."
In the past few months I have had this same conversation 7 or 8 times. And though I love and appreciate any conversation, my heart was troubled by many of these conversations that didn't go near as well as the one I chose to write about. I believe in the days ahead,
"We must take a Philippians 2 posture as we walk out a Matthew 5 lifestyle."
It is up to us, as followers of Jesus, to guard the harmony (Ephesians 6), cherish the unity (Philippians 2) and in authentic humility put others first. We must view others as more important than ourselves. Our posture must be vigilant! We must BE FREE from our own PRIDE FILLED OPINIONS because they destroy the beautiful work of God in our lives and relationships. Pride is the great resister that pushes God away. It opposes Him and others around us. It isolates us and chains us to an appearance of right-ness in a wrong spirit. Pride is no respecter of persons. It can blind the open eyes of the greatest generals of our faith. Pride opposes the true freedom and love of our gracious God. On the other hand,
the aroma of humility; an abandonment of every display of selfishness, possessing a greater concern for what matters to others, moves the heart of God.
As our posture is rooted in Philippians 2 our lifestyle is lived out of Matthew 5. A lifestyle that is governed by the government of heaven. A life of gentleness, a hunger for righteousness, mercy, a pure heart, making peace, bearing the wounds of being persecuted for what is right, joyful for the reward ahead, embracing the rejection just like our fathers before us. I believe we are truly upon the greatest day of the church. Yet it will not be with out opposition, rejection, and persecution. It is the way of humility. It is the way of our King Jesus. As a believer, empowered by the Holy Spirit we must "possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of my own interests." Before every social post, text, or conversation we must guard the harmony that the Holy Spirit has given, cherish the unity we have with each other, and view others more important than ourselves. These are the words of Jesus! This is the rally cry for every christian all over the world.
In this last year Shawna and I have been ridiculed, challenged, told we should stop talking about the issues we are talking about, and even accused of "loving people straight to hell!" But let me say it in the words of of Jesus,
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus was persecuted because the religious leaders would not accept Jesus as the expressed image of God. Why? Because Jesus ate with notorious sinners, was a humble lamb led to slaughter who forfeited his form as God and became a man to be crucified for the sins of a world who didn't even know his name! Is there any greater act of humility, regarding others greater than himself? If Jesus really is our Lord then we must follow the path that he laid before us. The greatest act of a true warrior is not how many men he kills in the midst of battle but rather how many lives he saves along the way. As you take a Philippians 2 posture walking in a Matthew 5 lifestyle you will find the power of the Holy Spirit will fill you and empower you to touch a world around you like you couldn't have ever imagined.
This is how we Love in the midst of the great storm coming!