URC Daily Devotion 30 December 2023

Saturday, 30 December 2023
Philippians 2: 4 – 11
Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.  Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
    and gave him the name
    that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Whether you are thinking of making some specific New Year resolutions, or focusing on more general priorities or approaches for the coming year, this passage may provide guidance: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”

What was in Jesus’ mind?  The point Paul is making, when he introduces those rhythmic phrases that look like an early ode about Jesus, is this: “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”  So, that gives a direction in which to set priorities and resolutions.

This song or poem celebrates Jesus born in human likeness, and the generous approach he took to human life.  He did not seek to wield dominant power, but poured out self-giving love.  And this action by the grace of God had people of the whole world in its sights: every knee should bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Can our resolutions and priorities benefit people of other cultures, communities and countries in their relationships with God, and help us all to live responsibly in God’s world?

This passage may also give guidance for church meetings.  “Let the same mind be in you” – you plural – and the letter was written to all “in Christ Jesus in Philippi with the bishops/overseers and deacons/helpers” (Phil 1:1).  So, in church meetings about church life and wider responsibilities: listening to each other’s interests, insights and experiences of God’s work, strive to come to one mind.  And this would involve not seeking to wield dominant power, but pouring out self-giving love, with concern for people not only of our own cultural group, community or country, but for all to flourish in Christ’s life to the glory of God.

(Some words, but not all, from hymns by KB Wilkinson, and AC Ainger, Rejoice and Sing’s version)

May the mind of Christ, my Saviour,
live in me from day to day,
by his love and power controlling
all I do and say.
What can we do to work God’s work,
to prosper and increase love and justice throughout the world,
the reign of the Prince of Peace? 
What can we do to hasten the time,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God?


Today’s writer

The Rev’d Bernie Collins, retired minister, member of Avenue St Andrew’s URC, Southampton


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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