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, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We see in Philippians 2:1-11, that Paul is basically urging us to love other people really well. He is wanting us to fight for and build unity among others. Paul uses Jesus' life as a clear example of how this works. That while God could have used His life for His own advantage, He humbled Himself and became man, and then suffered on a cross. Paul is basically saying that we are encouraged to do the same as Jesus did, to step back from ourselves, take ourselves out of the picture and be willing to do anything for the well being of others. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, by laying down His life for the glory of God, and we are called to do the same thing.

Getting ourselves out of the way is hard. Personally, I like myself and want the best for myself - so sometimes it's hard for me to stop thinking about "What's good for me?" or "What will I get out of this?". But God has called us to so much more. We were put on this earth to serve others and to love people really well. By Jesus dying on a cross, we are able to experience that full love, an unconditional, never changing, never ending love. While as humans that love sounds impossible, with the Holy Spirit inside of us, we are capable of not only experiencing that love, but also showing it to others.

Life is hard, and sometimes people can be hard to love - your roommate leaves the dishes in the sink (for the 3rd time this week), your mom nags you on the phone about keeping your grades up, your boss yells at you for being 2 minutes late to work (all because there were no clean dishes because of that roommate) and you think it's going to be impossible to love those people well - and you can't, without the help of the Holy Spirit. The love we are called to give isn't our humanly love, it's the eternal love. The love that isn't altered based on if the kitchen is clean or if someone doesn't show love back to you. We are called to love people with a Christlike love in the midst of our crazy lives. So be present, be aware and love others the way we are called to.

Holy Spirit, would you teach me how to love the way Jesus did. Help me to remain calm when things upset me or when I want to get angry. Would you show me Your love so that I can help others experience it too. Holy Spirit, fill me with Your love so that it overflows into all aspects of my life. Would people feel Your love through the way I love them. Holy Spirit, be present within my day to day and give me opportunities to love others well. Help me to seek You when I find it hard to love others and would You help me to see others the way You see them so that I can really love them. Thank you for being such a loving and good Father. Thank you for loving me all the time and not based on my circumstances. Thank you for showing me what love really is and feels like. I love you and it's in Your name I pray - Amen!

- Alex Raines