Exalting Christ….above all
Last week in Sunday School, Chris continued leading us thru the book of Philippians. We arrived at 1:12-26 with the theme “exalt Christ above all”. From prison, on death row, Paul wrote these words:
Now I want you
to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the
gospel. As a result, it
has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone
else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my
chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word
of God more courageously and fearlessly.
It is true that
some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so
in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former
preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can
stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it
matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or
true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that
through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has
happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.dI eagerly expect
and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so
that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by
death. For to me, to
live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on
living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I
choose? I do not know! I am torn
between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more
necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of
this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your
progress and joy in the faith, so that through
my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
This got me to thinking about the meaning of the words ‘above all’. Does this really mean that Christ is more important than anything else? Take the time to read some of these passage.
Physical Life….Philippians 1:19-20
Money/Financial Security…Luke 18:18-25; Matthew 6:20-33
Cultural Obligations…Luke 9:51-62
Religious Rituals…Matthew 6:1-18
Knowledge/Education…I Corinthians 1:17-31
When Christ is ‘above all’, it does not mean that these other things do not exist in our lives. We are not hermits, living in an isolated monastery away from everything.
No, it means that when these things are in conflict with the time, energy, appointment, resources, values required to be obedient to Christ, then they must be (MUST BE) subjugated to the authority of Christ. In such situations, we must turn our back upon these things in order to turn our face to Christ & follow Him.
How often we give lip service to this, without living it out! How often we fool ourselves into thinking that He is Lord of our lives, when we wimp out on obedience because of the pull of these things!
God, help us to be honest with You and ourselves, about our spiritual adultery.