Proverbs 15 & Philippians 2

Proverbs 15

    A soft answer turns away wrath,
        but a harsh word stirs up anger.
    The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
        but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
    The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
        keeping watch on the evil and the good.
    A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
        but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
    A fool despises his father's instruction,
        but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
    In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
        but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
    The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
        not so the hearts of fools.
    The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
        but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.
    The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
        but he loves him who pursues righteousness.
    There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way;
        whoever hates reproof will die.
    Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD;
        how much more the hearts of the children of man!
    A scoffer does not like to be reproved;
        he will not go to the wise.
    A glad heart makes a cheerful face,
        but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
    The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
        but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
    All the days of the afflicted are evil,
        but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
    Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
        than great treasure and trouble with it.
    Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
        than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
    A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
        but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
    The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
        but the path of the upright is a level highway.
    A wise son makes a glad father,
        but a foolish man despises his mother.
    Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense,
        but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.
    Without counsel plans fail,
        but with many advisers they succeed.
    To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,
        and a word in season, how good it is!
    The path of life leads upward for the prudent,
        that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.
    The LORD tears down the house of the proud
        but maintains the widow's boundaries.
    The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD,
        but gracious words are pure.
    Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household,
        but he who hates bribes will live.
    The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
        but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
    The LORD is far from the wicked,
        but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
    The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
        and good news refreshes the bones.
    The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
        will dwell among the wise.
    Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
        but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
    The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom,
        and humility comes before honor.

(Proverbs 15 ESV)

Philippians 2

    So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

    Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

    I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.

    I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

(Philippians 2 ESV)

Philippians 2: If our Lord was simply an almighty King sitting on His sovereign throne commanding us as His people to suffer for His sake then the call to suffer would certainly be a burdensome mandate that we would feel obligated to carry out. That is why the apostle Paul takes time to point out the proper motivation for Christian suffering by providing the beautiful portrait of Christ's humiliation for our salvation and the glory of God the Father.

Our Lord is not simply an almighty King sitting in glory on a throne; our Lord is the almighty King who hung in agony on a cross. 

If the sovereign eternal God of the universe was willing to experience the ultimate humiliation of taking on the form of His own creation and then willingly allowing that creation to crucify Him in order to save that creation, then can we not endure hardships here on earth in order to honor Him and serve others? How tragic it is to consider that the God of the universe was crucified by His opposition, and yet we shake in fear of being criticized by those who oppose us.  

May we consider the cross and find the courage to suffer whatever it is that we may have to endure for the name, honor and glory of Christ. Our Lord took on the humiliation of the cross in order that we might be exalted in glory. May we humble ourselves by becoming self-sacrificing servants to all in order that we may exalt His name to the glory of God the Father.