WEReveal

My Rights!

Originally pub­lished cir­ca 1998

I believe Philippians 2:1–11 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
could very well be one of the most impor­tant pas­sages in Scripture when it comes to how to live with each oth­er. Unfortunately, it is also the one that is very dif­fi­cult to live by. If we can, our church­es would become pow­er­ful lights in the dark­ness of the world.

Phil. 2:1–11 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.

If you have any encour­age­ment from being unit­ed with Christ,
if any com­fort from his love,
if any fel­low­ship with the Spirit,
if any ten­der­ness and com­pas­sion,
then make my joy com­plete by being like-mind­ed, hav­ing the same love, being one in spir­it and pur­pose. Do noth­ing out of self­ish ambi­tion or vain con­ceit, but in humil­i­ty con­sid­er oth­ers bet­ter than your­selves. Each of you should look not only to your own inter­ests, but also to the inter­ests of oth­ers.

Your atti­tude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not con­sid­er equal­i­ty with God
some­thing to be grasped,
but made him­self noth­ing,
tak­ing the very nature of a ser­vant,
being made in human like­ness.
And being found in appear­ance as a man,
he hum­bled him­self
and became obe­di­ent to death–
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalt­ed him to the high­est place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
in heav­en and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue con­fess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glo­ry of God the Father.

Christ is our prime exam­ple. We are called to fol­low him, to have the same atti­tude as his. By hav­ing the same atti­tude as Christ, our rela­tion­ships with those around us will often dra­mat­i­cal­ly dif­fer from the world’s. I feel that if we would sim­ply fol­low this atti­tude of Christ, many of the con­flicts we find in our Christian homes and in our church­es would dis­ap­pear. Church “Business Meetings” would loose the acromo­ny that is often asso­ci­at­ed with them because our atti­tudes would not give place for it. How? Why?

Let us look at Christ’s atti­tude. He was God, the supreme being. He could do any­thing. It was his right to do what every He wished. Yet we find Christ giv­ing up those rights.

Paul uses words that remind me of a lit­tle child in a toy store hold­ing on to a toy that the par­ent has no plans to pur­chase. The child is stand­ing there scream­ing, “MINE! MINE!” The par­ent tries to take the toy from the child but the lit­tle one holds the toy with both hands as tight­ly as pos­si­ble, kick­ing and scream­ing.

Christ could have been just like that lit­tle child. He could have held on to being the Son of God with all the rights and priv­i­leges that were his. His RIGHTS were that He was God and could do what ever he want­ed. But He put HIS RIGHTS aside to save us. He not only gave up his own rights but also took upon him­self the sen­tence of death which was OUR RIGHT and died in our place that we might have eter­nal life.

Sam Rayburn was Speaker for the House of Representatives longer than any oth­er man. One of his friends lost a teenage daugh­ter and ear­ly the next morn­ing Rayburn knocked on his door. “I just came by to see what I could do to help.” The father replied that there was noth­ing to do. “Well,” Rayburn said, “have you had your cof­fee this morn­ing?” The man replied that he had not tak­en time for break­fast. Rayburn quick­ly went to the kitchen and began fix­ing his friend break­fast. The man real­ized that Rayburn was sup­pose to have break­fast at the White House that morn­ing and quick­ly asked about it. Rayburn replied, “Well, I was, but I called the President and told him I had a friend who was in trou­ble and I couldn’t come.”

What a dif­fer­ent world this would be if we could learn to become more and more unselfish.

To the Phillipians, Paul said some­thing that is just the oppo­site what we hear in the world today, ” Do noth­ing out of self­ish ambi­tion or vain con­ceit, but in humil­i­ty con­sid­er oth­ers bet­ter than your­selves. Each of you should look not only to your own inter­ests, but also to the inter­ests of oth­ers.” Almost unbe­liev­able! What hap­pened to look­ing out for num­ber one? What hap­pened to mak­ing sure I get my rights. Paul acknowl­edges that we have needs and that it is our nature to look after our­selves. But what he urges us to do is to also look after oth­ers, with the same fer­vor and effort that we take to look after our­selves, and even more so since we should “con­sid­er oth­ers bet­ter than your­selves.”

An angel appeared to a man and offered to reveal to him a vision of hell and of heav­en.

First came the vision of hell. The man saw a long ban­quet table loaded with every del­i­ca­cy, every kind of food to delight the palate and nur­ture the body. And then he saw that every­one seat­ed at that ban­quet had both arms taped up with splints so that they could not bend their arms. There was no way to bring a morsel of food to their lips, so every­one in hell was hun­gry and wretched.

Then the man saw heav­en revealed. Once again there was a heavy-laden ban­quet table, and to his sur­prise, the man saw that once again each per­son there had his arms in splints. But at the heav­en­ly table, each per­son was feed­ing his neigh­bor. And no one was hun­gry.

What would our church­es be like, what would the world be like if we made every effort to have our atti­tude be the same as that of our Lord and Savior, King of the Universe, God’s Son who laid down his life for us.

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