This is an interesting thought. As we grow in love for our neighbours, it seems we automatically/simultaneously grow in holiness.
Love God and love neighbour really are the whole of the law, aren’t they?
A friend challenged me recently on whether I am more focused on my own fulfilment/happiness and getting my own needs met than I am on meeting the needs of others.
It’s one of those provocations that has rumbled around ever since, and cropped up again in my Bible reading today.
Verse 21 is very familiar to me, but if you’d asked, I’d have said that the question was just left hanging – an unsolvable dilemma which Paul ultimately left in the hands of God. I’d never taken in these next verses.
Paul came to the realisation that though death would be preferable to him, that wouldn’t best serve the needs of those in the Philippian church. He chose to go on living for their sakes – and didn’t do it begrudgingly, but with great joy.
It was his joy to surrender his own will and serve them. What a challenge!
These first chapters of 2 Samuel show a great model of what it means to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
This is the start of David’s lament for Saul when he hears of his death. He is mourning his friend, Jonathan, too, but there is no sense that he is just doing his duty by Saul and really mourning Jonathan. In fact, most people would expect him to make some comment to the effect that Saul had got his just deserts, but in word and deed David’s response suggests only that a great, worthy and much loved king has died.
What an incredible example.