The Power of a Whisper
Day 11 Reading: Philippians 2
Pastor Lisa’s Journal
For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
– Philippians 2:13
In this letter, Paul encourages the believers in Philippi to be of one mind, to be unified with God and one another in the way they think, live, love and serve. The one mind they are to cultivate is the mind as Christ, the mind of a true servant of God. Having Christ’s mindset results in a life which:
- looks to the interests of others, no selfish ambition (v. 3-4)
- is humble and reverent before God (v. 5-8.)
- freely chooses to obey God, even to the point of self sacrifice (v. 5-8.)
- is empowered and blessed by God (v. 9-13)
- is joyfully obedient to the purposes of God (v. 14)
- shines as a testimony to God, offering the world a new way of living (v. 15-16)
- is faithful and steadfast, even though surrounded by corruption (v. 15-16)
I claim to be an average man of less than average ability…. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith. – Mahatma Gandhi
Be not afraid of greatness:
some are born great,
some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrust upon them.
– William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (Quote Act II, Scene V)
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. -Maya Angelou
When he was challenged by Jesus to accept a life of voluntary poverty, the rich young man knew he was faced with the simple alternative of obedience or disobedience. When Levi was called from the receipt of custom or Peter from his nets, there was no doubt that Jesus meant business. Both of them were to leave everything and follow. Again, when Peter was called to walk on the rolling sea, he had to get up and risk his life. Only one thing was required in each case — to rely on Christ’s word, and cling to it as offering greater security than all the securities in the world. The forces which tried to interpose themselves between the word of Jesus and the response of obedience were as formidable then as they are to-day. Reason and conscience, responsibility and piety all stood in the way, and even the law and ‘scriptural authority’ itself were obstacles which pretended to defend them from going to the extremes of antinomianism and ‘enthusiasms.’ But the call of Jesus made short work of all these barriers . . .
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
This passage reminds me of two pitfalls to faith. One is to think about faith in terms of what’s in it for me. I evaluate a congregation or ministry opportunity like I would a local business. (aka customer satisfaction) The true goal of a Christian is far different. The Holy Spirit of God is at work in me to will and to work for God’s good pleasure. Sometimes that will align with my pleasure and sometimes it will not.
As a Christian, I make a commitment to Christ- to a worldview, value system, and God beyond my own creating. This more faithful mindset reminds me of a line I often heard on the TV show The West Wing, “I serve at the pleasure of the President.” As a Christian, I bring all I have to serve at the pleasure of God Almighty- whatever that might entail.
The other pitfall to faith is to compare myself to others when evaluating my spiritual life. I’m doing better than Susie so I must be ok. This passage reminds me to only compare myself with Christ. My goal is to become more Christ-like, to develop the mind of Christ within me, not Susie’s or anyone else’s.
Unity comes when believers all focus on being Christ-like. We are called by God to come together to “shine like stars in the world,” lighting the way to God. Those yet to believe will know we are Christians by our unity, our common mindset, and will want to have what we have found.
Holy Spirit, you are at work in me. You empower me with the desire to follow God’s will. You strengthen me to carry it out. You correct me when I stray. You do this for others as well. Coninue to reveal to us the mind of Christ. Fill us with his wisdom, purity, and humility. Fill us with his courage, focus, and sacrifical service. Draw us together to will and to work for God’s good pleasure. Draw us together to shine, so others might be drawn to Christ as well. In his name we trust and pray, Amen.
For more information on the Power of a Whisper campaign or for a copy of this reading plan, click here
As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.
I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you learn to better listen and respond to God’s whispers in your life. – Lisa <><
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