Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ… (Philippians 1:27).
The big question is—what does conduct “worthy of the gospel of Christ” look like? I believe Paul identifies at least 15 characteristics in just the next 20 or so verses…
Heavenly Father, may it always be said of my life that it is one that is worthy of the gospel of Christ. May I always be sensitive to the nudges of the Holy Spirit to keep my life aligned in this way. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!
Jesus is journeying toward the Cross. On Thursday, it’s His last opportunity to impart His most important thoughts to His disciples. He is about to be arrested, and everything is about to go sideways for the disciples—“this isn’t the way this is supposed to happen!”—and Jesus needs to prepare them with the truth they will need to sustain them through this.
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” Jesus says (Luke 22:15).
So Peter and John are sent to make arrangements for the Passover meal, but one of the arrangements that they overlooked was the host duties—washing the feet of each guest, anointing them with perfume, and giving them a welcoming kiss.
As they are eating dinner, Jesus makes four important statements:
These statements get the disciples arguing about who’s going to betray Jesus—“It’s not me, is it?!”—and over how faithful they are—“I would never abandon Him!” Ultimately they begin to argue over who is the greatest disciple among them.
Jesus not only explains to them how the servant is greater than the master in God’s sight (Luke 22:24-27), but He then becomes the living example of that when He washes their feet (John 13:1-5, 12-17).
Here’s an important principle—Only secure people can lovingly serve others.
Insecure people don’t like to serve others because they feel they are being misused, or taken advantage of, or that others will look down on them.
Jesus “knew” (John 13:1, 3) how much power His Father had given Him, making Him secure enough to serve. Security really means, “I am loved by God, and I know who I am in Him.”
Jesus served out of love: the profound love that He knew His Father had for Him. He gave His disciples the same mandate: Serve others out of love for Me and show the world that you are My disciples (see John 13:34-35).
When Jesus ate this last supper with His disciples, He instituted a remembrance celebration that we now call Communion. The root word is “commune” which the dictionary defines as a “conversation with profound intensity and intimacy.”
This is the type of intimate relationship Jesus had with His Father, and this is the type of relationship He calls us to with Him. The broken bread of Communion reminds us that Jesus can make whole any broken area that would keep us from communing with Him. The cup of Communion reminds us that Jesus can instantly and fully forgive any sin that would keep us from communing with Him.
Jesus set the example—we are to commune with our Heavenly Father through the way He made by His broken body and His shed blood. It’s out of this communion that we are empowered by His love, and then feel secure enough to serve others in love too.
Jesus said that every step He took during the day was directed by His Father, so Jesus is our example for dealing gracefully with any “interruptions” by those who need help.
If I pray as Jesus taught—“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”—then the people He sends my way are never interruptions. Instead, they are people who also need to experience God’s kingdom for themselves, and since God has allowed them to cross my path, that means that God entrusts me with the privilege of showing them God’s kingdom love.
A servant doesn’t get up in the morning and sit around waiting for the master to tell him every single task to be done that day. The servant gets up and gets busy with what needs to be done.
But neither does the servant put off the master’s request because he’s busy with a task. The servant doesn’t respond, “I’ll get to that request after I finish what I’m doing,” but instead the servant responds immediately to the master. The master’s requests have priority.
So too with me. I get up and get busy, but my heart is listening for my Master to “interrupt” me (although it’s not truly an interruption!) with someone who is in need.
May my heart always be ready to say an immediate “yes!” to anyone my Master sends across my path today.