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SURVIVAL MODE By Rich Jennings

Read: Philippians 1:27-2:4

Reflect: A preacher once said that the unbelieving world is in survival mode. I think that is true. People work to earn money so that they can eat. They go on vacations to relax and recover from the stresses of life. They drink to forget life’s problems and some do drugs to escape reality. If a relationship doesn’t work out, they give up and run. Hump day is important because it means that they’ve almost made it through another week just to get to the weekend so that they can do it all over again the next week. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s survival.

Unfortunately, many Christians are going down the same path. The only difference is that we take out the spiritual saltshaker and sprinkle some religion on our week once or twice. The question that we have to ask ourselves as Christians is “Why?  Why am I in survival mode? Why does life seem so difficult?” There are many reasons we could give. It’s a fallen world, sin, mean people, etc.…

We can also come up with some solutions. Paul gives a great one in Philippians 2:4. He says that we are to “look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others”. This is a simple concept but one that is not often practiced. It refers to not only service, but also self-sacrifice. I don’t know about you but helping someone out when it is convenient for me is easy. It gets a little more difficult though when I have to sacrifice that time slot to help when I wanted to do something else. How often have we talked to someone and could have asked them how they are doing but chose not to because we had something to do? We couldn’t take the time to listen. After all, we have an important to-do list. We have a schedule to keep.

Is this valuing others more than ourselves? Is this putting their interests before our interests? I wonder if our to-do list would match up to God’s to-do list for us. Life’s not easy. Sometimes we feel like we are in survival mode but just imagine how life would be if we all followed this principle. What would life be like if all Christians counted each other more significant than themselves? What if we all looked out for the other person’s interests first before our own? For one thing, we wouldn’t be self-absorbed. Many of our needs would be met by others as we did the same thing for them. A life in survival mode could turn into a joyous life with Christian compassion and care like we’ve never seen.

Apply: God said that life would have suffering and difficulties. In fact, the Bible says that he has granted us suffering as part of what will perfect and mature us. The good news is that we are not alone. We have each other and the Spirit of God to help. Today, look for opportunities to help someone, even if it is inconvenient for you. Take the time to ask another Christian “How are you doing, is there anything that I can help with?” You may be surprised to get the same question back and it could get quite interesting. Life for a believer can be much more than just existing in “survival mode”.