‘Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ’ Phil 2:1
How was your week? Did you find looking into your own mirror of sin too hard? Did you have any instances of relief by putting others first?
It’s so hard living in the contradiction of sin as a Christian. We know that how we lived before we knew Christ always left us wanting but for some reason, even though we love the light of Christ, the darkness of sin always seems to pull us in.
But I think our starting point is what’s wrong. Paul speaks about our sin and our need to turn away from a life centred on self because his foundation is set in Christ first and foremost.
‘If any encouragement’ he says, ‘if any comfort’, ‘if any tenderness and compassion’. Does knowing Jesus’ love for you bring these gifts to your life and grow in your a desire to share these with others?
Paul is saying that if we are united in Christ then His love for us will give us all we need which will define how we live out life.
Can you see the link? How we live depends entirely on our relationship with Jesus. We can only die to self if we live in Christ.
Throughout scripture you will see this link that without God’s intervention we can do nothing to deal with the problem of sin. Sin is too great for us, but our problem tends to be that our view of God is too small which makes sin appear to be greater than it is.
Don’t get me wrong God hates sin, he hates it’s effect on his beautiful creation, but sin doesn’t stop God loving us and providing for us because sin doesn’t define who God is.
I’ve had a 50-year relationship with food, which I know is ridiculous because food was never intended to be relational. But it is my go-to for a variety of emotional responses and comforts. But my greater problem is my belief that my body defines who I ‘am and how God sees me.
As society we’re so judgmental of ourselves and one another, we have a skewed view of the need of perfection. What we project on the outside is what defines us. God consistently demonstrates throughout the bible that the core of who we are and what we serve begins in our hearts and it is in Christ that we’re being perfected.
The heart of self says I am my own and I get to choose who I am. The heart of God says I created you and I have a perfect plan for you.
Whether my body reflects the overeating I do or the restrictive diet or the other life choices available to us all, God judges our hearts through the lens of what Christ did at the cross. My life is no longer my own but it is hidden in Christ. It is through His life that I learn what being human can be and should be.
Our starting point today is to ask Jesus to show us who He is and to rest in the wonder of all he is, all he has planned and purposed; then be thankful and relish in the joy of being rescued from the darkness of sin and the joy of living in the light of Christ.
In Christ our life is not measured by our sin but measured by His righteousness.