Many Christians approach the topic of fasting as a legalistic practice, trying to please (bribe) God into favor toward us in some way or the other. But the Bible is more nuanced on fasting than we usually tend to think and practice. In this passage, we learn what kind of Spiritual importance Fasting holds.
We see in the Bible, that God often uplifts the lowly and the oppressed. Also, He often humbles the proud. This is how His kingdom works. In this passage, we learn how Jesus demonstrates His love toward the helpless, but also humbles the exalted.
We don’t often hear people talking about being content today. When we do, it’s often in terms of what would be ideal rather than characteristic of our lives. In this passage, Paul gives an explanation of how he has labored for contentment in Christ and in the worst of circumstances he can have joy, since his circumstances could never give him the fulfillment he seeks anyway, he seeks to be content in the person of Jesus Christ.
Every disciple of Christ is called to evangelize. The New Testament paints a picture in which every disciple of Christ is normally and naturally involved in evangelism as much as in the Bible study, prayer, and corporate worship. From the brand new Christian to the wise old saint, sharing the gospel is necessary and integral to a growing life in Christ. In this passage, we learn how we’re called to approach Christian ministry both in serving the saints and the lost.
Roman Catholic Church’s official position is that Jesus’ mother Mary remained a virgin for her entire life (perpetual virginity). The bible never affirms that, and instead notes about her children who came after Jesus. So Catholic church gives an inordinate amount of importance (and even worship) to Mary. Sometimes the opposite reaction in protestant churches to completely dismiss Mary’s life and godly character can be an extreme or incorrect position to hold. In this passage, we learn who is Mary, and what lessons we can learn from her submission to God.
In the Bible, God sets aside His redeemed people primarily to fellowship with Him and to glory Him by reflecting His character through His people in this world. God is glorified when His redeemed people show certain marks that remind the world about God and His kingdom. In this passage, we learn how sincere love for others and constantly fighting sin in our lives through repentance and overcoming temptation, are the ongoing marks of a true Christian.
We’ve often heard a cliché about the necessity of leaders being ’empathetic’ and ‘humble’ towards people. But how does a leader cultivate such character qualities to serve people well? The Bible says that only the gospel of Jesus Christ enables leaders to have a heart of humility. In this passage, we learn how gospel authenticates and produces genuine humility in a leader through the path of suffering, so that he displays character qualities like Christ did.
Elisabeth Elliot on suffering once said ― “Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him.” This needs to be the response of every Christian in times of suffering, because hardships are inevitable in this life. In this passage, we learn how suffering should enable us to trust in God, an expression of our humility and dependency on Him alone.
Religious leaders often seem very kind in public, but get aggressive and violent when someone opposes them. Sometimes Pastors even beat up their wives and do not respect them in private. There are other leaders in the church, who serve people because of money. Some leaders are good with people in public but poor in managing their own household, their children don’t listen to them and are extremely rebellious. As a father and husband, they’re very passive about family matters, and the list goes on and on. But the Apostle Paul has a response against all these bad character qualities of a leader in this passage.
God already showed us in scriptures what it means for us to be His children, and what it costs us to follow Him. In many ways, the Cross of Jesus Christ is the way of Christian Life. He humbled Himself to the cross and sacrificed His own life for us, He suffered for our sake, He endured all kinds of rejection from His own people. In this passage, we see how the Cross becomes the model for christian life.