Scripture:   “So if there is any encouragement in Christ; any comfort from love; any participation in the Spirit complete my joy by being 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 count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.

Have this mind among yourselves (which is yours in Christ Jesus) who though He was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  AND being found in human form he humbled himself be becoming obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.”  Phil 2:1-8

Observation:   Remember “therefore?”  When we see the word “therefore” we should see what it is “there for?”  The word “so” is also like that.  Paul is giving a run-down on what the results of “progress and joy in the faith” (Phil 1:25b) and what our manner of life should look like (Phil 1:27a).

Application:   Being a disciple can be daunting.

So much to do, so much to remember, so much to consider: so much to ponder…it is amazing that anything can be accomplished.

And that’s the rub for me…how can I accomplish being a disciple?

Here’s the Sunday School answer: You can’t.  Only the Holy Spirit can accomplish this through you and in you.

Ok, that is real informative.  So I relax, right?  I progress in the faith by the osmosis method; just hang around enough churchy folks, listen to the pastor, read these journal postings, etc. and some of this will just rub off on me?  Survey says…..not exactly.

The Sunday School answer is only partly correct.  That is describing the work of God in his Sovereignty in you.  There is another part: Human Responsibility.  Broadly speaking, that is the effort part that man exerts through those pesky verbs that Paul writes about: “complete my joy by…” , “Do nothing from…”, “Count others more significant…”, “have this mind among yourselves…”

These are the “Do’s” of the Faith, those things that we pursue, change our minds for, press on for, strain forward for, and more.  Noticing what Paul writes above there are two facets: Internal work and external.  Beware that the external isn’t faked over having the internal (heart) work done.

I have to take advantage of what I consider a gift of Grace: the mirror.  “Examine yourself, see if you are in the faith” Paul says to the Crazy Corinthians.  “Test yourselves.”  (2 Cor 13:5) This is not an exercise of whether I am saved or not…this is an exercise of whether I am walking worthy of the Gospel.  The reality is that we don’t…in every aspect completely–only some of the time.  That’s ok.  Form a plan, prayerfully.  Tackle an aspect of godliness and then another, and another, and another.  Repeat/repent as necessary.

That is what chasing after the prize looks like.

Prayer:   Father, I feel so inadequate at the moment, failing You.  That’s ok: this is where I remember and remind myself of the Gospel—that You died on the Cross to pay the penalty for my Sin.  My performance on earth has nothing to do with Justification.  Sanctification?  Ah, a different story.  Make me in the likeness of the Son O Lord.  AMEN