Sunday September 27: Living love through compassion and sacrifice
August 21, 2020 by Greg Allen-Pickett
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross.
If you turn on the television or livestream news, or you spend any time on social media, compassion seems to be in short supply, particularly in the way that we interact with one another. People assume the worst of each other and begin interactions from a place of anger rather than sympathy. Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi points us to another way, a counter-cultural way of love that is grounded in empathy, unity in Christ, and self-sacrifice. These are not values that are extolled in our current culture, but they are values that are demanded of those who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ. The love that Paul speaks of is not an emotional love, but a love that pours itself out for others, eschewing selfish ambition and conceit, and focusing on the interests and needs of others. Self-sacrificial obedience to God is not easy, but that is the love that we are called to live.