Do we Really Understand?

Please read the following quote, posted below in bold letters, very carefully. Take your time and pay very close attention to what Paul, an inspired apostle, is trying to communicate. Read it for yourself word for word and then ask yourself, “How does this apply to ME?” Ready? Here it is ….”Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)

Now, I promise I am not trying to be condescending, nor am I patronizing you, or trying to belittle you in any way, form, or fashion. I am simply trying another approach to get your attention. I am sincerely asking you to read that verse with the utmost concentration and comprehension. Just like Paul, I truly want you to see and understand what is being said, for your own best interest. Then, I pray that you will ask yourself if you really understand it. Ask yourself if you are truly observing this Scripture to its fullest, or not. Be bluntly honest with yourself.

I am positive that every baptized disciple in the Lord’s church fully believes this verse and even practices it … most of the time. What I am not so sure about is if we all really understand what it means. I know I have struggled with it. While I try myself and have also seen this passage practiced within the lives of several faithful Christians, it still seems we easily forget, or misunderstand it from time to time.

Perhaps, the greatest magnifyer for proof of our understanding is by observing our own actions on social media. While there is much good that can come from engaging others on the many digital platforms out there, there is also just as much harm that can come from it. For example, since there are no real filters or special permissions required among those mediums for expressing our thoughts, opinions, or frustrations on a world-wide stage, then the responsibilty for excercising self-control is solely ours, that’s a fundamental, godly attribute of a Christian (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:5-7). Sadly, many forget this and blatantly post whatever they want without considering that offenses may occur, mental harm could be done, and even that it could be placing one’s soul in danger. Maybe you just never thought about it before. If so, then here’s an easy test to see how you are doing in that area: pretend, for a moment, that you are a complete stranger to your own page, or profile – would someone who doesn’t know you be able to see Jesus in your posts, your pictures, and comments? If your answer is either “No,” or “I don’t really know,” then maybe you need to make some adjustments in your life, or consider getting your heart right with God.

Listen, we all have our lives, responsibilities, and personal wants and desires. That’s perfectly okay! That is what is implied within the first part of the verse. So, take care of those things that pertain to you because you have a right to do so. But, the second part of the verse is reminding you to just recognize that you are not the only person in this world. The lives, responsibilities, and personal wants and desires of others are just as important as your own. Don’t forget the “Golden Rule” of Matthew 7:12. In a world where there is already entirely too much emphasis on self-centeredness, we need more of this kind of teaching. We need to focus more on others and not just ourselves. We need to consider how our own actions might affect others.

Therefore, every Apostle is also an apostle (sent) AND a disciple of Jesus Christ. Anyone, even today, who follows the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus can be called a disciple. But, not every disciple is, or can be, an Apostle, because of the specific requirements that are impossible to fulfill today. Technically, anyone who is sent out, such as a preacher or missionary, could be called an apostle. But, we don’t typically use the word in that way simply because of how it has been abused by other religious organizations.