Weekly Devotional for October 4, 2017
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (St. Paul, writing in Philippians 2:3)
As our nation faces another shocking set of murders, it’s good to pause and remember why Christians walk a different path. After all, it’s one thing to know your morals, and quite another to know why they’re your morals. Why should we reject rivalry and conceit?
We can surely see the danger of both sins. Rivalry led to the first murder on earth: Cain killing his brother Abel because Abel had the more acceptable sacrifice. Conceit abetted the worse murder on earth: Jesus on the cross, arrested by those who thought themselves better than him. The spirit of rivalry and pride—the hatred of our neighbor—lurks beneath every murder.
But knowing a sin’s potential danger is not enough. Our sinful hearts can quickly imagine an exception for ourselves, a justification for sin that makes us imagine that we can manage the risk. Better to know the true foundation of our morality: God gave His Son for sinners.
Because God stands at the center of all reality, that sacrificial love for all people stands there, too. God counted sinners more significant than Himself, so significant that He gave His life for theirs. Being His children, and thus desiring to live in harmony with Him, we follow on that same path: no rivalry, no conceit, no murder, but only loving neighbors as our true selves.
LET US PRAY: Forgive me, Lord. I’d rather love myself than my neighbor, and so I do, on most days. I am not You, Lord, as You know full well, and I often forget. Yet since it is Your glory to have compassion on the sinner, have compassion on me. By Your Holy Spirit grant that I would learn to find my true self not in myself, but in Your Son, and so also in His neighbors, and thus forgetting myself, love You and neighbor alike; through Christ Your Son. Amen
Pastor Steven K. Gjerde