This reading is Philippians 2.
I love this book!
This chapter begins with Paul issuing a strong challenge – basically saying that if we are authentic Christians, we should be loving, united, purposeful, humble servants. In short, our attitude should be like that of Jesus.
Selfishness and pride are at the root of sinfulness and the misery it brings. Selflessness brings joy. This is a challenge for all Christians, as it is so easy to think of ourselves first.
Verses 6-11 give a powerful description of Jesus, his divinity and his purpose. He is “in very nature God.” This means He is the very essence of God, and He is God. Not just a little like God, or that He spent time around God, but He is God – the 2nd person of the Trinity. Yet He humbled himself to come live as a human and was obedient to suffer the worst death imaginable – all for our sakes.
In verse 12 he challenges us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” He doesn’t say to work for our salvation, because that is a gift of God’s grace. We must do this with trust in God, not ourselves. But our works and our perseverence give evidence that we have faith in Christ.
Verse 14 should convict us all: “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Keep in mind that Paul wrote this while in jail. Christians are to be witnesses to the world through our lives – “blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Our generation is surely as crooked and depraved as Paul’s was. As verse 16 points out, the light we hold out is God’s Word, the “word of life.”
When Paul says he is being “poured out like a drink offering,” he is referring to an Old Testament practice of sacrificing animals for the sins of the people. Drinks like wine were also poured out to symbolize the completeness of the sacrifice. Paul is giving everything he has for his fellow believers. The chapter ends with examples of how Timothy and Epaphroditus were making sacrifices for Paul and for Jesus as well.
The next reading is Philippians 3.