Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13
This passage comes right after Paul encourages the brethren in Philippi to imitate the humility Christ modeled, serving out of selflessness, and valuing others above ourselves. Paul’s instructions may have been shared hundreds of years ago, but they are still as relevant today as they were then. Sometimes it is the simple instructions that have the greatest impact.
Before take-off, flight attendants often provide valuable information as to what needs to be done in case of an emergency. We are cautioned that changes in cabin pressure may cause oxygen masks to drop from an overhead compartment, and that we should make sure we put on our masks before attempting to help others. The idea is that we need to take care of ourselves before we offer help to others, not that we are to refrain from giving help, but the better we are able to help others.
We are Christians, servants of the Living God, but we are not immune to pain, sickness or burn-out. While it is brotherly love to look out for the interest of others, it is wisdom for us to look after ourselves, for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Corinthians 5:2-10.
Oxygen is invisible, but in an emergency, the correct positioning of our masks could mean the difference between life and death. We cannot see our Heavenly Father, but the kind of relationship we have with Him will determine whether we survive our daily experiences as well as our life emergencies. When we are connected with our Father, we grow in Him, and we are able to support others in their own Christian walk. Putting on our masks first may not be as bad as it sounds. Perhaps it is time to put our masks on?
Inventory/Introspection: Do I make sure I am grounded in Him before I try to help others ?
Personal Application: Putting on my mask first does not make me selfish.
Father, we are thankful for the instructions that You give to us. We want to model humility as we give the best we can to others in service to You. We want to serve You without grumbling or arguing, but in our efforts to help others we don’t always consider that we can be more effective in service when we are healthy.
What goes on in our spiritual lives also needs to be balanced. As we feed on Your word, we are able to experience growth and enrichment in our lives, and this will help us to share Your love with those around us. We can’t give to others what we ourselves have not experienced. Life pressures may take us by surprise, but You have put measures in place to help us take care of ourselves. May we be careful to keep our eyes and ears on You.
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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