"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:5-8
I am having trouble getting my mind around this Scripture. This is pretty radical stuff! On one hand it sends a comforting message of how much God loves us, but it also confronts us with our responsibility to love each other like Christ loved us! What Christ demonstrated at Christmas must be how we love each other year-round!
Let's examine that love again today.
The first thing I notice is that Christmas love sees the needs of others.
Romans 5:8 tells us, "God demonstrated His love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us!" Wow! God provided for our need before we were even aware we had a need! He provided a solution before we even understood the problem!
How atuned are you to the needs of others? Are you too consumed with your own problems and pains that you become oblivious to the plight of others? Christmas love sees the needs of others and seeks to ways to minister to those needs. Christmas love is not selfish.
Can you imagine a church fellowship where each member saw the needs of others and stood ready to help? What a radical place that would be!
Christmas love also serves the needs of others. Jesus wasn't simply an observer that saw rhe needs from the security of Heaven and waited for someone else to do something. Christ, the omnipotent sovereign Son of God, shed all His power and priviliges to become a servant! He surrendered control and became vulnerable so He could serve a needy race! Christmas love is humble in order to be helpful.
How about you? Are you willing to humble yourself to serve someone else? Are you willing to give up control and allow yourself to be vulnerable if it means meeting the needs of others? Can you be weak to strengthen someone else?
Imagine a fellowship like that! What a radical place that would be! Why can't there be a place where members see each others needs and step up (or down) to serve those needs?
Also, Christmas love sacrifices for the needs of others. This may be the most radical of all because it usually involves death. For Jesus, the sacrifice didn't begin at the cross. It because at the throne of His Father in the most exalted place in Heaven! Everything we dream about and desire, Jesus had - and He laid them down! He saw our needs and judged our crisis to be more urgent than His own comfort. Christmas love willingly traded Paradise for pain. How can God die? BECAUSE HE WANTED TO!
What have you sacrificed for someone else? It is nice to see a need and feel compassion. But Christmas love sees the need, serves the need and sacrifices what ever it takes to solve the need. Love is hard work! Love is costly! Love hurts! You can't love safely and conveniently - you must love sacrificially!
I dream of a fellowship where Christmas love is a reality. Why can't we love until it hurts? Why can't we die to serve others? Didn't Jesus call us to "deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him"? What if there was a group of believers who actually decided to be that radical!
Christmas love will cost you, but Christmas love will change you - and everyone around you! Christmas love could create a contagious fellowship! It could be Christmas in July - and August, and Septemeber and...........