Paul gives more direction on how to live here in Philippians 2:1-18. Recalling Christ’s attitude, he tells the church in Philippi to live as children of God and to hold firm to the word of life. This is the same instruction that we as the universal church of God need to hear on a daily basis; situation to situation.
Paul begins chapter two with a series of questions in order to ask the church to do him a favor and be wholeheartedly in agreement with each other in love and working toward the same purpose. He asks them to be like Christ in personality by not seeking self glorification, but exhibiting submission to God even at the cost of one’s own life. He says that by submission to God the father, Christ was elevated to the highest place of honor in heaven and that in the same way, we are to submit in order to gain favor in God’s kingdom. Paul goes on to tell the church in Philippi how important it is that they follow his instructions in working hard to show a change in their lives by obeying God in their lives. He admonishes them to do everything with a good attitude so that Christians don’t gain a bad reputation among non-believers and then tells them to stick closely to Jesus so that when he returns, they can all share in the joy that is to be found at that time.
This passage is important to Christians as a bare-bones version of how to act. We as followers of Christ are supposed to exhibit the same attitude of servant-hood that Christ demonstrated time and time again throughout his time here on earth. We are also called to be an example of that type of person to the world in how we act so that the world can see that we are different. All too often, Christians look exactly like the secular world in the way that we talk and act in public. Paul recognized this as a long-standing problem with humanity which is why he says that it is important to follow his instructions. In the present day, we can also use this as a reminder that everything we do in front of people is a representation of Christ to them. If we act just as quickly angered and self-gratifying as the rest of the world, we won’t be able to claim Christianity as life changing. If we don’t pour our lives out like an offering to God, we cannot say that we are any different and therefore are not children of God.
When I read this, I’m personally convicted to examine my life and the image I emit in front of coworkers, family and on the internet via social networking. When people look at my life, do they see Jesus working in me or do they see another religion that is restricting and a cause for avoidance? I think that it is our responsibility and should be our longing to resemble Christ so that no one can criticize Christians as unclean, crooked or perverse. This is what God wants for us and this is how we find favor in his sight.