I've been meditating about unity this week because that's been the big theme in Charlie's sermons on Philippians. The word meditation sounds impressive and highly spiritual but I was doing it bleary eyed and clutching a coffee on Monday morning. Meditation is wonderful and spiritual but it is also quite simply taking time to grasp and absorb the truths which you have discovered in Gods word. Instead of letting ideas just drift across our minds, meditation is the act of stopping and really considering the truth so that we are gripped and changed by it.
I began meditating on Sunday evening's sermon by clarifying what exactly God was saying to me in Philippians. It took a bit of time but I boiled it down to ‘Unity is essential and costly'. Then I jotted down a list of questions which could help me turn this truth over in my mind, e.g. why is unity important? What would happen if we didn't pursue unity as a church? What will help me purse unity? Why is unity so hard?
The question I began to wrestle with was ‘what will help me be a Timothy, ie genuinely concerned for the interests of others?'. I looked through the passage and settled on:
- Remembering the pattern of Christ which is one of humble obedience unto death but then a life of glory later!
- Remembering that the Bible is clear that serving others will be costly.
Neither of these things are new but I quickly forget them and slip into the relational prosperity gospel that Charlie mentioned - expecting to have easy relationships and abundant friendships in church at no cost to my own self interests.
On Tuesday morning my meditation focused on the question ‘What excuses do I make for not pursuing unity?'. This question forced me into the nitty gritty of personal application and in less than two minutes I came up with 14 excuses! I'll just share a handful of them with you.
Excuse 1: ‘It's their fault'. Phil 2.3 ‘In humility count others as more significant than yourselves'.
Excuse 2: ‘It's a waste of time, lets just focus on the task at hand'. Phil 2:2 ‘complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind'.
Excuse 3: ‘I don't want to cause offense as it's not my business'. Phil 4:2 ‘I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord'.
Excuse 4: ‘I've tried but they are too difficult'. Phil 2: 5-11 Remember the example of Jesus who ‘humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death'. After two mornings of meditation I realise that I am just beginning to scratch the surface of this great letter.