You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had. – Phil. 2:5 (NET)
Chances are you’ve had someone correct your posture at some point in your life: “sit up straight,” “shoulders back,” “don’t slouch.” And as annoying as these pestering verbal reminders can be, if we don’t heed them the body itself – through pain – will remind us to practice proper posture. Proper posture allows the body to function most efficiently and with the least amount of pain. It’s the best way for a body to sit, stand and walk.
Interestingly, one of the pictures of the Church in the New Testament is a body. This should make it easier to understand what the Church is and how to be one because we spend our entire lives in bodies – completely familiar with them. We know by experience that there are healthy ways and destructive ways to treat and use our bodies. We know that each part of our own physical body interacts with and relies on the other parts to move in-sync and in ways that promote health throughout the whole body – and the same applies to the Church.
When we think about being one body as the Church, we have to remember that the way we all live our lives has an effect on the health, wellbeing and physical appearance of the Church as a whole. So, what does it look like to have proper posture in the Church’s body?
In Phil. 2, Paul appeals to the church to have a unified mind, attitude, love and purpose – to have proper posture.
Phil. 2:1-8 (NET)
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death —even death on a cross!
For Paul, it wasn’t enough to simply exist as members of the Church; there was a right way and a wrong way to participate in the body. Proper posture in the Church body meant being motivated to treat others as more important than yourself, being concerned about the interests of others and living a life of humility and service.
This week, practice proper spiritual posture. In the same way you may have to remind your physical body to stand up straight and not slouch, train yourself to consider others first as part of a spiritual body. Treat each person as more important than yourself. Treat them like they’re special, like you delight in knowing and meeting their needs. Do it even when it’s uncomfortable – especially when it’s uncomfortable – because this is the posture Jesus took with you.