I’ve been working on a sermon on Philippians 2:1-4 for this Sunday at a friend’s church (United Evangelical Free Church for the record). I’m not sure that I’ll will, but I’d like close with a passage from Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together where he supplies seven principles for eradicating selfish ambition from Christian communities. Note that each individual of the community (church) must put them into practice. Christians should:
- hold their tongues, refusing to speak uncharitably about a Christian brother;
- cultivate the humility that comes from understanding that they, like Paul, are the greatest of sinners and can only live in Gods sight by his grace;
- listen "long and patiently" so that they will understand their fellow Christian’s need;
- refuse to consider their time and calling so valuable that they cannot be interrupted to help with unexpected needs, no matter how small or menial;
- bear the burden of their brothers and sisters in the Lord, both by preserving their freedom and by forgiving their sinful abuse of that freedom;
- declare Gods word to their fellow believers when they need to hear it;
- understand that Christian authority is characterized by service and does not call attention to the person who performs the service.
Pretty simple stuff. Powerful if we would but practice with one another.