Reflections on Philippians 2:1-4.
Some of us tend to hold onto different items that are especially sentimental to us. These include ornaments, items of clothing, shoes or boots, hats and coats, books or records, tools and even old kitchen appliances that are no longer functional. Whatever the item, hoarders have attached a certain measure of value to them that they alone really appreciate. There is this little club of hoarders, if you like, those who alone understand this mystical currency of clutter that to most appear absolutely useless.
Sadly, many followers of Jesus Christ are hoarders too. Those who attempt to hold onto the benefits they have received by grace from God. These grace benefits include; having received encouragement from being united with Christ; having received Christ’s comfort through His selfless love; having received the fellowship of the Spirit, which is knowing and experiencing a partnership with the Holy Spirit who empowers, provides His gifts and fruit in our lives; and having received God’s mercy and kindness through Jesus Christ His Son (Php.2:1). These benefits are enormous to say the least and have all been provided by Jesus’ life and death on the cross to sufficiently provide for the Christ Follower’s salvation.
But the point is that Christ calls these grace recipients to also be grace dispensers. Paul provides a challenging address to the Christ Followers at Philippi when he says; “…make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose” (Php.2:2).
Yes, this is how it is meant to work. “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Php.2:3-4).
The core remedy for grace hoarding is humility. Humility is definitely not considered to be a contemporary virtue. Instead, assertiveness and aggression are prominent since they seem to provide the way to success and power. What book store has their best-seller stand advertising, “5 Steps to Humility” or “The Dummies Guide to Dying to Self”? I doubt any. However, the Christ-follower’s road is always down, humiliations, no different to the road the Master walked (Php.2:6-8). In fact, the shadow of the Cross of Christ always looms large over the believer’s life. This does not suggest the symbol of the Cross in silver hanging around a person’s neck or the image of the Cross on the wall or mantle-piece.
Rather, the shadow of the Cross of Christ means that there is meant to be a constant reminder and realisation of the moment by moment death sentence to self that looms over the believer’s life. In Jesus’ words; “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk.9:23).
Herein lies the remedy to successful relationships; “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Php.2:5). Death to self in Christ remains to be the solution to the struggles surrounding church unity, marriage and gospel devotion. Do not hoard the grace you have received, but in humility, continue to generously give that grace away.
Ps. Deon Lombard
Being a servant of Jesus makes it a delight to reflect and write about all that God has revealed about Himself in His Word.