Clothed in Christ
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion…” Philippians 2:1 (NIV)
Union with Christ – an unattainable mystery or a life-changing reality? The apostle Paul would argue for the latter; this gift of Jesus dwelling in us appears throughout his letters to the churches, including this letter to Philippi. As we slough off the old self – that which is prone to anger, bitterness, jealousy, greed – and put on the new – that which is marked by peace, faithfulness, goodness, self-control – we put on Jesus. As Paul said to the Romans, we clothe ourselves with Jesus (13:14), outside and in.
In this crisp passage we’ll be focusing on for the next few weeks, Paul is concerned with the unity of believers that springs forth from our union in Christ. Though he was away from the church at Philippi, held in a prison for his beliefs, yet he pours himself out for those whom he is concerned, imploring them to live as new creations.
Have you enjoyed a friendship with someone who, like Paul, champions you and your faith, even when sometimes that feels uncomfortable? When I’ve been on the receiving end of admonition or constructive criticism, I’ve felt an initial sting. But after prayer and reflection, and maybe just a bit of controlled ranting, I can see how God has used that person to challenge me to be more authentically the person he has made me to be.
May we too, be open to speaking God’s words of love and wisdom.
Triune God, may we put off the old self today and live clothed in Jesus. Amen.