In Philippians 2:1-11, Paul’s main concern is the unity of the church in Philippi. However, we can glean and apply biblical wisdom from another area of life by using this passage. Verse 1 reminds us that we should be encouraged, receive comfort, and participate in fellowship with the Spirit. That these are good gifts given to us by God. That even when experiencing brokenness, we can find encouragement in Jesus. We can meditate on His teaching and the love that He demonstrated for us by dying on the cross in our place. More than that we know that Jesus can identify and resonate with brokenness. This is not a foreign concept to Him but one that He willingly stepped into. Yes, that’s right, all the pain and suffering that we experience, Jesus experienced on a deeper level. He was wrongly accused, wrongly beaten, and wrongly killed. He regularly had the religious leaders trying to trap Him and harm Him. In many respects, we are unable to relate to the brokenness that Jesus suffered and we can’t relate to its severity on the cross as He took on the sins of the world. His suffering was far greater than mine or yours. This He did willingly. He said “yes” to the mission (Verse 7). I can’t think of a time in my life where I have willingly said yes to deep suffering and brokenness. Not only that, I can’t begin to image what it is like to have the sins of the world put on my shoulders! This should all be encouraging to us because Jesus understands our suffering and brokenness better than we do. He is not looking at it from afar, giving unhelpful instruction. Rather, He has been through the hardest, darkest moments in all history. Beyond that, He promises deliverance. He promises to pull us out of the ashes and back to our feet. Where we can humbly worship and serve Him while enjoying Him for all eternity in heaven.
How do we respond in the present? There are times when we feel so broken that we don’t know how to move forward. We feel completely and totally stuck and that there is no way out. We have cried out to God and feel as though He hasn’t answered and that He may have abandoned us. But scripture is clear that the Holy Spirit is inside believers. That God is with us in our suffering, pain, and brokenness. And He desires to use that brokenness to help us grow and mature. To give us understanding of what wholeness means in light of brokenness. If there were no brokenness, how could we know wholeness? In the present, continue to pray, plead for God to intervene and deliver. But be patient. Understand that God may be refining you and it may take time. In some cases, a long time. There are many people including the apostle Paul who have spoken about a “thorn in the flesh.” Something painful that isn’t going away and might not go away. There are some challenges in life that we will not overcome in this life. But we can learn how to surrender it to God and live at peace with our ailments. No matter what your struggle is, God can bring encouragement in your life. God can bring comfort and peace in ways that you are unable to fully recognize. God is in your battle with you, so keep leaning on Him. Keep turning back to Him and inviting Him to give you strength to continue forward. You have not been abandoned. If you are a believer, you have the all-powerful God living inside you. He wants to use you, refine you, and empower you. Seek Him and be patient. Understand that He is doing a good work, even if you cannot see it.
- Read Philippians 2:1-11 a few times over. Consider how God may be asking your for greater measures of humbleness in your life. What “rights” is He asking you to give up for His sake?
- Pray - ask God to help you lean on His strength. Ask for strength to persevere and to trust His promises. Ask Him to show you how He is making you new.