Mind Your Manners
Pray: Humbly ask God to give you wisdom to understand this portion of the Bible and the faith to live out what He reveals to you.
Read: Philippians 2:1-11
If you’re like me & grew up in the South, there was something that your parents tried to instill in your life beginning at an early age…Manners. Whether it involved meals at the table & how you held a fork or spoon, or tagging “ma’am” or “sir” on the end of your “yes’” & “no’s”, many of us grew up being highly encouraged (or forced) to learn & use our manners. Now, as a parent, I find myself repeating conversations that my mom had with me in hopes of instilling politeness, kindness & manners in my children.
The Apostle Paul had a priority of depositing something far more important than manners into those in the church at Philippi. “…fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:2-4)
The implications of the Gospel on our lives move far past southern courtesy & not showing everyone what you are chewing at the dinner table. Paul’s goal for the life of followers of Jesus was that their focus would be not on themselves, but on Jesus first & then others second. As Paul held up Jesus’ resume to the Philippians in verses 6-11, those attributes in Jesus’ life were to be what fueled the Philippians to give glory to God & serve their neighbors.
When you get down to it, manners are taught so that you don’t embarrass others (namely your parents) or yourself. Paul wanted the Philippians (& us) to understand that following & exuding the attitude of Jesus in our lives is more earthly & eternally significant than manners. Following Jesus with our lives is costly & uncomfortable, but at the same time, it’s the only response we can offer to the One who died in our place, for our sins, so we might have a relationship with our Heavenly Father.
If we can daily think, love & focus on the goal of giving all credit to Jesus for who He is & what He has done, and allow the reality of the Gospel to affect how we relate to those God has placed in our lives, we can begin to witness the transformational power of God in our lives & it will overflow into the life of Tallahassee. It moves us from practicing social graces into an understanding of the only way we can make Jesus’ attitude our attitude…God’s grace.
Pray: Ask God to help you examine the motives & intentions in your heart-to see if these line up with His Word & if they aren’t, to confess & repent of them. Ask God to replace your motives with His motives.
1. Do I care more about what others think, or more about what God thinks of me? What adjustments do I need to make in my life to be less concerned about the opinions of others & more concerned with how God has asked me to live?
2. Is my thinking & are my feelings in line with what God has asked me to focus on as a follower of Jesus? Why or why not?
3. How can I focus on one area (thinking or feeling) this week & be more obedient to how Jesus has asked me to live in that area?