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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, September 30, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Philippians 2:1–11a

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be 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 regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NRSV)

Be like Christ!

When we are united with Christ, we have the comfort of his love. When we share in the Spirit, we have tenderness and compassion. We are invited to be like-minded with Christ. Like Christ, God’s love, spirit, and mind can flow through and guide us. This allows us to set aside selfish ambition or vain conceit. By keeping our ego in check we can respond with humility to the needs and interests of others. Richard Rohr aptly describes the ego as follows: “The ego is that part of the self that wants to be significant, central, and important by itself, apart from anybody else.”

We all have an ego, and if right-sized, it can help and serve us. Beyond a certain point our egos interfere with our ability to be humble, loving, compassionate, and available to others. While suggesting we regard others as more important than ourselves, Paul leaves room for self-care. If we have adequately loved and shown compassion towards ourselves, we will have the strength to act on our values to be like Christ to others. Jesus modeled self-care by separating himself from others and renewing his spirit and connection to God. He also modeled incredible compassion and sacrifice. So . . . be like Christ. Be humble, tender, compassionate, and concerned about others—and take care of yourself so you can do this well!

Loving God, help us navigate the twists and turns of life while wanting to be guided by the example you have given us in Christ. Give us awareness for when our egos are interfering with our intentions to be humble and compassionate and Christ-like to those around us. Amen.

Written by Tom Schemper, Director, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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