If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4)
Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy, hatred, lust, or pride. Regardless of the 'degree' of sin's impact - your life was changed and any change is really 'dramatic', isn't it?
God makes a difference in our lives - mostly because he somehow makes it clear that we are now part of a community of believers. We don't 'do' Christianity on our own. We don't walk alone - we do it in community with other believers - others whose lives have been changed, as well. Since we are called to live within community, it is pretty important that we learn how to live as a community of believers. First and foremost, we need to learn to agree with each other! Now, isn't that a tall order for us these days?
There are more topics we can 'disagree' about these days - things like vaccinate / don't vaccinate; it is a hoax / it is real; it isn't our problem / it is all our problem. I don't want us to lose sight of one thing that helps us agree within community - truth. Truth is not situational - it is not based upon one's opinion. It is fact - fact cannot be argued against - it stands up to the test. One can find truth within the scriptures - then stand upon it because it is going to stand up to the test. We learn to love each other because we embrace truth and truth sets us free to love as Christ loved the world.
Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand - to let another 'move ahead' in the line of life, so to speak. How hard it is for some of us to actually forget ourselves and embrace another in true community. It is so very easy to embrace what will help ourselves or forward our cause, but quite another thing to embrace what will help another rise to the top or bring their hope to light. Yet, our greatest reward comes not in just being within community, but in allowing those within our community of believers to be lifted up, brought nearer to Christ, and furthered in the 'difference' Christ creates when he works through us with his love. Just sayin!