There is an old hymn which was written in the late 1800’s by a prolific songwriter, Fanny Crosby. Blind from birth, her grandmother, who raised her, purposed to become her eyes. She filled her imagination with colorful descriptions of her environment and filled her mind with the truths of God’s amazing love for her. Because of Fanny’s fantastic memory, she was able to memorize the first four books of both the Old and the New Testaments and many other long passages of Scripture. Out of her deep love for Jesus and through her life experiences, she was able to share her poetry through songs which have blessed and moved believers for decades.
That old song simply says, “Tell me the story of Jesus. Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story of Jesus. Sweetest that ever was heard”.
When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he knew that it was the “story of Jesus” that would continue to stir the hearts and minds of the people. They needed to hear it over and over and so do we. He could have repeated just the facts of His birth, His life, and His death, but instead he gave them insight in to Jesus’ attitudes and His Father’s response. It’s a facet of the story that we need to hear repeatedly.
There must have been some things that Paul knew about the church in Philippi, some attitudes and behavior that were a serious concern to him. No doubt he had pondered carefully various ways to help his friends understand that some thoughtful adjustments needed to be made. There has to be a very strong motivation for any of us to be willing to move from an attitude of selfishness to a position of unselfishness. It isn’t the way of human nature or our culture. It often does not make immediate sense to let go of our self-centered desires, opinion and concerns. He knew that Jesus’ example would be the one and only way to make clear to them what needed to change.
In what ways has the story of Jesus impacted your life? Perhaps some of the truths that Paul shared with those friends of his in Philippi are the same ones that he would want to share with you and me. You’ll have to decide that for yourself, won’t you?