“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” — Philippians 2:12
Philippians 2 highlights the importance for Christians to serve others. As you might expect, the greatest example of serving is Jesus. He determined in His “mind” to do it. The word “mind” is found 10 times in this letter to the Philippians. It teaches us that what we think about is what we become. Jesus made up His mind to serve His Father in Heaven, and that is what He became and did (Philippians 2:5-7). Jesus found joy in serving, as we may also.
The second example of serving in this chapter is the Apostle Paul himself. He gave personal testimony to the joy he found in serving Jesus and others. The phrase “work out your own salvation” (v. 12) should not be misread as a statement to work for your salvation. Rather, once a person has been saved by grace, he/she is to demonstrate a new life — live it out. We do that by serving others and finding joy in it.
Next, there is the example of Paul’s protégé, Timothy. He was an eager student to be taught the Word of God and trained to serve others by the “veteran” Paul. It’s hard to miss Paul’s joy when he wrote how Timothy served Jesus, himself and others (vv. 20-22). Let us be willing to be trained by those more experienced, and know that our lives bring joy to them.
A final example is Epaphroditus. Note the five descriptions of him listed in verse 25 — brother, co-worker, soldier, messenger, caretaker. He lived a balanced life in relationship with others and was always a source of joy.
We should strive for the same.
— Jeff Totten, Detroit Tigers chaplain
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