If you have gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor. Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
I have a question for you. Did you think the above words were mine? Did you realize you just read something straight from the Bible?
What you just read is Philippians 2:1-4. This is part of the letter Paul wrote to the church he started when he cast the demon out of the fortune telling slave girl and then got thrown in jail and proceeded to convert his jailer and his jailer’s family. It’s all in Acts 16. We talked about it Sunday in worship.
A lot of people think the Bible is dry and dull. That means a lot of people are in for a wonderful surprise when they discover that the Bible is a page turner! It is not only the most important book ever written, it is the most interesting book ever written. Yes, some parts are more interesting than others. Some parts are like hard soil. It takes some digging to loosen it up. But the digging is worth it. The Bible is very fertile ground.
Other parts of the Bible will grab you and draw you in at the first reading. This passage from Philippians is an example. It’s also an example of using a translation that uses English the way we speak it today. That same passage in the King James Version is almost incomprehensible. Look it up. There is one word in particular that will have you saying, “What??”
And of course, the reason to read the Bible isn’t that it’s interesting and it’s enjoyable to learn more about it. The reason to read the Bible is to do what it says to do. So, “Do me a favor . . . Put yourself aside and help others get ahead . . . Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”