Before you read this post, I encourage you to visit Elaine Stock’s blog to see how God used my sin to show me of the true meaning of Easter.
As you contemplate on Christ’s death and prepare to celebrate His resurrection, I invite you to meditate on 2 Philippians. I’ve been camped out in this chapter this week. I’d love to memorize it. More than that, I long to live it. But as you may notice if you read the above referenced post, most days I fall painfully short. But like Paul, I refuse to give up. Instead, I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. (Phil. 3:12)
Philippians 2:1-11 (NLT)
1Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though He was God,
He did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, He gave up his divine privileges;
He took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When He appeared in human form,
8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
This is a hard passage to live, one I doubt anyone this side of heaven will ever truly master. But when we think of what Christ did on the cross, our love compels us to try. Stop and meditate on verse one. Stop and think of all Christ did for you. Envision Him on the cross, giving His life for you. For me.
So that we could have peace with God and one another. The biblical term “peace” has a much deeper meaning than what we tend to give it. When we think of peace, we think in terms of the absence of outward conflict, but shalom, the Hebrew word scholars translate as peace means so much more!
Shalom is about wholeness, completeness, a sense of setting all things right. God desires His children to be united (Phil 2:2). When something happens to disrupt that unity, His desire is that we would do what we can to restore it.
This Easter, as you celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection, evaluate your relationships in terms of God’s shalom. Is there anything God might be calling you to do? Will you obey?
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Let’s talk about this!
Join us at Living by Grace as we talk about ways to seek and practice shalom. Then come back Monday as I continue my Reach Out to Live Out Campaign with a story shared by a man who showed compassion to a stranger. (Click here and scroll down to find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved.)
Want to learn more about shalom and biblical conflict resolution? Here are some additional resources:
Shalom and the Poverty of Relationships (This article talks about shalom, how it applies to relationships, our view of man, and the poor.)