A Joyful Imprisonment

Zoe Peters: recent graduate who is happy to be offered a job by anyone.

Philippians 2:1-11

2 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, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


(When I told my mum I was writing this she recited this entire passage - not particularly humble)

In our culture, individualistic values have very much prevailed. We are encouraged to put ourselves first and to make decisions that will be of the greatest benefit to us. We very much live at the centre of our own individualistic universes.

This is a relatively easy way to live when everything is going well; when we get the job promotion or get into a new relationship. However, when things aren't so good and we are the only person to blame, life can feel a lot more bleak and exhausting.

In this passage Paul encourages those who are in any way 'united with Christ' to consider living in a different way. If we know the love of God or have been filled in the Spirit we are encouraged to be 'like-minded, having the same love, being of one spirit and of one mind'. We are called to 'Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit', prioritising those around us. Paul calls us to live counter-culturally by putting other people before ourselves; individualism is replaced by collectivism.

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