What does it look like to live as a family for others? As THE MAN for others, Jesus saved us rather than Himself at the cross and, “every time we reflect on the cross, Christ seems to be saying to us, ‘I am here for you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying’” (John Stott). From the incarnation to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the skies, Jesus is there for others. As we contemplate all that He has done for us, we begin to change in some major ways. We begin to live lives of radical humility, sacrificial service, and bold risk-taking.
First of all, becoming a family for others cures us of our spiritual cancer of pride to live a life of radical humility (Philippians 2:1-11). As C.S. Lewis says, “pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began…Pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love…” Unchecked pride leads to one activity… grumbling and complaining (v.14). One way we cultivate this blessed gift of self-forgetfulness is by actively identifying evidences of God’s grace in the lives of others. Paul calls attention to God’s work in the lives of Timothy and Epaphroditus. Begin to observe how the Spirit reveals His fruit and His gifts in the lives of others around you and intentionally encourage and thank them for what you see the Lord doing. Consider this: What is one way that you will resolve to weaken pride and cultivate humility?
Secondly, becoming a family for others liberates us from complaining to sacrificially serve others for God’s glory (2:12-24). Like Timothy of old, we resolve to serve the interests of Jesus Christ in the lives of others (v.21). Reflect on this: What is one way that the Lord is calling you and your family to serve others for His glory?
Thirdly, becoming a family for others liberates us from the enchantment of security and galvanizes us to take risks in building Christ’s church (2:25-30). Here we examined the life of Epaphroditus who risked his life in serving Christ. We take risks when we sacrifice our own interests, comforts and resources to make much of Jesus Christ and prove that He is more precious to us than anything else. Ponder this: What is one risk that the Lord is asking you to take for His glory and the expansion of His kingdom?
Safety is a mirage. It didn’t exist for the Apostle Paul, Timothy or Epaproditus. It doesn’t exist for you. They had two choices: waste their lives or live with risk. Today we enjoy the privileges of the gospel because of the risks they took. Let us follow in their train for risk is right!