What is the purpose of our lives and journeys? Paul lays it out for us in Philippians chapter two, verses one through thirteen. All scripture is from the New American Standard Bible from biblehub.com. I include several links from the got questions.com page for you to explore in greater detail.
Podcast of read aloud and commentary: Coming Soon!
Point 1: Be Like Christ, be humble and unified in love
1Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; 4do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Experiencing God’s unmerited favor (grace) changes our hearts! As His grace works in our lives and we grow in a community of faith (the gathering/assembly, the church), Holy Spirit gifts and leads us. The purpose of the fruit and spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 4) is to further the mission of the church which is to proclaim the Gospel to the world. Paul identifies the fruit of Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-26
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit as well. 26Let’s not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
If we walk with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit this is how our lives will look to those observing us. For extended explanation of the fruits: each fruit is examined in bottom links of this page
For an overview of the various spiritual gifts:
We live for Christ and others, not for ourselves. This is easier said and written than applied in daily life! Yet, it’s crucial that our lives reflect our beliefs. If we claim to be Christians, but walk in darkness and hatred then we are fooling ourselves (see 1 John). Jesus warns that one can recognize a tree by it’s fruits. What are the fruits of your life? Is your love and humility apparent to others? What gifts have Christ given you? How are you applying your gifts to your local church?
Paul warns us about envy and selfish ambitions. The remedy for our selfishness is to consider Christ and how that He served His Heavenly Father. As long as we focus on self, we are missing many opportunities to love and serve others. We must fight against our fleshly nature. God sends us trials and difficulties to purify and humble us. Our role is to respond in repentance and growth!
Point 2: Have the Same Attitude of Christ Jesus: The Servant
5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.
The theological term for Jesus emptying Himself is kenosis. For an explanation:
In summary, Jesus took upon the role of a faithful servant as His Heavenly Father led Him. As got questions points out, we need to be careful to not read into scripture more than what it plainly teaches us. Jesus is fully God and fully human. He came to fulfill His Father’s purpose. Our call as Christians is to be like Christ! We are to follow His example.
We have to die to ourselves (take up our crosses) and follow God. Taking up a cross was a difficult concept for the first century Jews to understand. They correctly understood that death on a cross (being hung from a tree) was a sign of be accursed by God. This is exactly what Jesus endured to save us. He was accursed by God to make the redemption possible.
Obviously we don’t save other people, this is the role of Jesus. But we are to live like Christ forsaking our natural, fallen desires and ways to follow God. This involves sacrifice and difficulties in our lives. Yet, we can take heart and be courageous because we know that Jesus has overcome the world (the evil systems opposed to God).
Point 3: Jesus is Supreme King. He is victorious!
9For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Because of Jesus’ obedience to His Heavenly Father, He is exalted above all others. We serve a victorious Savior! Every human will recognize His victory. For some this will be a day of great rejoicing and peace. For others it will be a terrible day of regret and judgment!
Point 4: Work out your faith!
12So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.
We are to obey our Victorious Savior! The phrase “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” means more than the English words convey. The concept of “fear” in the Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) is not our English fear. The terms properly translated communicates a “deep reverence” and “respect.” Basically, we desire to serve God and recognize His Greatness, Holiness, and Majesty. Knowing His Perfect Good Character motivates us to live in a manner that pleases Him. “Trembling” is a concept of being moved by His Greatness. When contemplating God, we are aware of our sinfulness and unworthiness before Him. We are finite, He is Infinite. He is the Creator, we are the creature.
Scripture is clear that we aren’t worthy of His love, grace, mercy, or loving-kindness. It’s His grace and mercy that reaches out to us in our sin and depravity. For more on this topic:
Verse 13 contains a wonderful truth! God is at work in us! He is shaping and leading us for His good pleasure. God isn’t finished with you. He is at work to make you into the person He intends for you to become! Even when we fail and fall short, we can rest assured that God will work for His glory and purpose. We can live victorious lives of faith because of Jesus’ victory! We can lean on Him and cry out for help when we need guidance and courage to press ahead.
May God’s love and Holy Spirit work in your life for His glory! I write these words as a fellow stranger on this world hoping for a better home with Christ,