This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Don’t let fear stop you

This reflection was first published on goshen.edu/devotions, where you can read more devotions and subscribe to receive them in your inbox each weekday during Lent.

Annika Detweiler is a first-year nursing major from Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

As I reflect on this passage, I am reminded of the upside-down message that Paul has brought to us, Jesus’ followers. In verse 7 it reads, “rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness.” I am in awe of my Father. A God who is fully God, but was willing to humble himself to demonstrate the heart of a servant. This is the true gospel.

This upside down message is hard to wrap our minds around. This world is constantly screaming at us, “ME FIRST.” It screams, “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME. I WANT THIS, I WANT THAT.” Why is it so hard for us to silence those voices? Why is it so hard for us to love and serve others?

This is a hard message. And Paul was really challenging the Philippians. Paul describes how Jesus came to do the exact opposite of what the world tells us to do. And this isn’t something we learn in just one day. But the Lord is challenging us to serve one another in love and have the same mindset as Christ did.

I remember being especially challenged by this message one day as I was working as a home health aid. One of the last ladies I visited to help get ready for bed that night had ulcers and sores on her feet and lower legs. Every time I would visit there, I would help her take off the wraps around her legs and feet. I would then rub lotion on the areas with the sores.

This particular night though, I had forgotten to get gloves for applying the lotion. I was in distress. I didn’t want to apply the lotion because I was scared of infecting myself and getting my own hands dirty. But, a still, small voice spoke to me very clearly in that moment: “Annika, this is what I did. I didn’t have gloves to prevent illnesses or diseases. I had compassion on people and loved them regardless of anything. I touched the man with leprosy. I washed the feet of my disciples. You can do the same as well.”

Wow. I was shocked. Yes, this should be our response to serving and loving. We should not allow the cost to stop us from loving and serving our neighbors. We should not let fear stop us from reaching out to those the Lord is calling us to. Jesus didn’t, so we shouldn’t.

As you go about your day, I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to show you simple ways you can serve those around you. Have the same mindset as Christ by aligning your hearts with his.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you so much for your son, Jesus. I pray that today you would show me how to love my neighbors. I want to be more like you today. I pray that you would continue to challenge me in being a servant. I love you so much. Amen!

Scripture: Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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