Thursday, August 06, 2015
We are involved in a weekly Bible Study with another couple. We operate using the "Discovery Process." The last three weeks in a row we have been in Philippians chapter 2, and it seems to have very obviously pointed out my need for an attitude adjustment. Not that anyone has said anything to me, but I am feeling pretty humbled by it.
First off Paul talks about doing "nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit... value(ing) others above ourselves, not looking to our own interests but... to the interests of others." It's very difficult to value others above ourselves. You know, especially when they don't know as much as we do; they aren't as smart as we are; they aren't as capable... Which is often how we/I think. Even if I don't openly acknowledge it, or recognize it, it's probably true more times than not.
Paul uses the famous hymn in chapter 2 is to suggest we should "have the same mindset as Christ." I prefer the word "attitude" used in the old NIV. What was Jesus' attitude? Even though he was God in the flesh, he didn't use that to his advantage; he made himself nothing, a servant; he humbled himself in obedience. Seeing someone exemplify the attitude of Christ is a powerful thing. Serving others with pure motives and a clear conscience stands out. I desire that, as elusive as it may be.
Second, we have the call to work out our salvation "with fear and trembling." And, for good measure, to "Do everything without grumbling or arguing." Argh. I know. It is good to think of God as a loving, merciful Father - because he is. But sometimes I think we can fail to grasp the immensity of God's awesomeness. We can fail to recognize just how much we've been given, and forgiven. The reality of that in itself should change how we view ourselves.
Finally, in the third section of chapter 2, Paul refers to Timothy and Epaphroditus. Contrary to how everyone else is, who "look out for their own interests," these guys have a "genuine" love and concern for others. I used to think I could fake it pretty good, or even tell myself that it was okay that I didn't. I'm not sure I could say I was really concerned about the interests of others though, or that my attitude was like Christs.
Ugh, this is difficult stuff. It's much easier to sit around and talk high theology or to argue ways to address sin in the world, point fingers at others, or indulge in political conversation. Being faced with the contrast of our own attitude with Christ's... that can be a daunting task. It can be just as difficult to not be overcome by feelings of hopelessness as it is to keep it before oneself in earnest evaluation.
So, that's where I'm at. I have been assessing several relationships that, while I would like to try to work at restoring or at least trying to repair, I think I need to work on my own attitude first before I attempt to address anyone else. While I do have some significant strengths, I also have some pretty glaring weaknesses. I have a feeling if I begin here, some of the other things will take care of themselves.