The things of the world are rubbish when compared to Jesus.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil3:8)

To know Christ is the greatest thing in the world. There is nothing better or more joyful than to have a relationship with Jesus. A saving relationship. One that redeems us from God’s wrath.

It is Jesus who makes us righteous. When we believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, His righteous life is credited to our account. As well as His payment of death redeems us from the demands of the law, which is death for our sin. The law can’t provide us righteousness because it demands what we can’t give — perfection. The law for us restrains and points. It restrains sin by providing guardrails in which we are to operate. It also points forward to the need for a Savior because we can’t save ourselves.

Paul knew the value of a relationship with Jesus, which is why he counted everything else as rubbish, as garbage, as not worthy of keeping. A relationship with Jesus is penultimate and the only relationship worth keeping and continuing to pursue.

The things of the world are rubbish when compared to Jesus. Chase after Jesus. Pursue Jesus. Count everything else you could gain as loss in comparison to Jesus.

Christian, seek to shine as a light for Christ by loving others

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (Phil 2:14-15)

Christians, we are lights shining hope into a dark world. Hope the world desperately needs, especially during this time of division in our country. What we need to be about right now is the gospel of Jesus, not political arguments or armed battle. We should live as blameless and innocent children of God without blemish.

We can shine as lights in the world by “holding fast to the word of life” (Phil 2:16). It is God’s Word that should provide our marching orders, not a politician or political party. It is God’s Word to which we should look for guidance and how to live in this difficult time in the life of our country. God’s Word tells us that we should love one another and seek unity, not division.

It is our love for one another, even those who are on the other side of the political aisle, that allows us to shine as lights. Loving your enemy is not easy. It is an upside down way to approach the world. But approaching the world in that upside down way is exactly what allows us to push back the darkness.

Christian seek to shine as a light for Christ by loving others.

Remember, we are fighting a spiritual war.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)

We are living in a time of political upheaval. Tempers are charged on either side of the aisle. Everyone feels they have been wronged. Both sides are fighting back, protecting, vouching for, and propelling their candidate to the front.

Let me encourage you not to put your trust in a candidate, political party, or policy. While politics are important, they are not the end all be all. Paul reminds us that we are not fighting against flesh and blood. Instead the battle we are fighting is a spiritual battle. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves for a spiritual war by taking up spiritual armor.

Spiritual wars are not fought with sticks, clubs, swords, or guns. They are fought by following and adhering to God’s Word. Jesus told His disciples to put their swords away. We should put our swords away as well. Attacks, riots, mob violent will not solve the problems we face in our country. Only the gospel and God’s Word will bring the change for which we desperately hope.

Remember, we aren’t fighting against flesh and blood, instead we are fighting a spiritual war, which requires spiritual armor.

Don’t let anger give the devil opportunity

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Eph 4:26-27)

How do we live differently from the world?

One way we live differently is by putting away our anger. Not allowing it to stew overnight. It is important we don’t allow anger to stew because it will develop further. Anger, though sinful in itself, left unchecked will turn into further sinful action. Corrupting talk, wrath, clamor, slander, malice. All these actions against another can stem from anger and will kill unity in community.

When we allow anger to stew, we give opportunity to the devil. He uses our anger with others to create division and disunity. It’s that division and disunity that destroys the church’s witness, it hinders its mission. Don’t allow the devil the victory. Deal with anger in seed form so that it will not take root.

You can’t love Jesus while hating your brother.

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,” (Eph 1:15)

You can’t love Jesus while hating your brother. Notice Paul combines these two ideas — your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints. These ideas are not combined by accident. Rather they are combined on purpose.

But why? Why should faith in Jesus produce love towards others?

Our faith in Christ changes our identity.

  • We are now adopted sons and daughters through Christ (Eph 1:5).
  • God’s wisdom and insight are lavished upon us through which He makes known to us the mystery of His will, which is to unite all things (Eph 1:8-10).
  • Furthermore, we have obtained an inheritance, which indicates we are a part of a new family (Eph 1:11-12). Our inheritance is even guaranteed by the third member of the Trinity — the Spirit (Eph 1:13-14).
  • Moreover, we are released from our former manner of life, so that we now live a new life in Christ that is the antithesis of the passions of our flesh (Eph 2:1-3).
  • God has even seated us with Christ in the heavenly places, insinuating that we are not just adopted sons and daughters, who have been changed to follow a new course of life, but we are kings and queens who reign and rule next to the eternal all-powerful King of the universe (Eph 2:4-6).

Our new life in Christ should produce unity. Paul’s argument in this section drives towards that conclusion. Verse 16 of chapter 2 says it explicitly —

“and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph 2:16).

The hostility he mentions primarily deals with the divide between Jew and Gentile. Through Christ, we are made one in Christ. We are both — Jew and Gentile — citizens of a new kingdom in which we are united (Eph 2:19).

While Paul’s argument deals firstly with the divide, and subsequent unity in Christ, between Jew and Gentile, the outworking of our unity as citizens of a new kingdom is love for one another. As citizens of a new kingdom we are to have camaraderie with one another. More than camaraderie we are to work together. More than just working together, we are to love one another. We are capable of loving one another because we have been freed from our past life, which was dominated by the prince of the power of the air and our own flesh (Eph 2:1-3).

As citizens of a new kingdom, freed from sin and Satan’s control, having our desires changed, and given a new identity in Christ, we can and we should love one another.

You can’t love Jesus while hating your brother.

Love for neighbor creates unity in the community and we should seek unity.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Gal 5:13)

In Christ we have been set free from the demands of the law. Not that we set the law aside in that we shouldn’t follow God’s Word. No, we must and we should follow God’s Word. A disciple is someone who follows a master. Jesus is our master. We are His disciples. We should follow Him. But we are free from the law’s bondage over us. It is no longer our tutor, teaching, training, restraining and pointing. It has accomplished it’s goal in that it has pointed us to Christ.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. He embodied it perfectly, never breaking a single command. As a result, He is able to be our perfect sacrifice, fulfilling the law on our behalf so as to make those who believe in Him through faith righteous.

Having experienced the freedom Christ provides, we should not use your freedom to satisfy the desires of our flesh. In fact, the opposite is true. Having been set free from the bondage of sin, we should use our freedom to follow Jesus in living according to God’s Word.

Not that it is a bad idea, but we don’t need to memorize all the commands in God’s Word in order to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. The whole law, as we are told in verse 14, can be summed in their phrases, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal 5:14). Paul is playing off Jesus’ answer in the gospels to a question regarding what is the greatest commandment. Jesus answered it is to love God and the second greatest was to love your neighbor (Matt 22:36-40). I believe both ideas are implied here, but the specific focus of the passage in on community, which is why the second greatest commandment is quoted.

It is wrong to say that you love God, while at the same time hating your brother. If you love God, you will love your brother. You will not use your freedom to bite and devour them. Instead, you will use your freedom to show love and care for them. If we seek to devour another instead of living in unity with them, we will be devoured ourselves. So as others attempt to take a bite out of us, we should press into love.

Love for neighbor creates unity in the community and we should seek unity. It is what the law, although imperfectly, was seeking and what we are capable of now that we are freed from the bondage of sin in Christ. We are capable of loving and living in unity with our fellow brothers and sisters. We must press into unity in our community by loving others as we would love ourselves.