Letters to CWLA: Pastor José

“Writing this letter to you has not been easy. This type of letter has forced me to think deeply of my love for you and more importantly for the love of Christ for us all.”

I conjunction with our “Letters to a Healthy Church” sermon series, each pastor has written a letter to Cornerstone in a similar style to Paul's pastoral letters. We pray they will be a blessing and encouragement to you.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is a privilege to write this letter to you all.

Writing this letter to you has not been easy. This type of letter has forced me to think deeply of my love for you and more importantly for the love of Christ for us all.
It is quite humbling to be presented with the opportunity to write a letter just like Paul did. I am not Paul and my love for you is not like Paul’s yet, but I know that the kind of love that runs in all of us for one another proceeds from the one who is love.

As a result, my letter can only be a faint echo of the love that I continue to experience every day from you and from our God.

My deep desire is that we all will continue to know the one who has perfectly loved us the most.

Paul said in Philippians 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” I wish I could tell you that this is my greatest desire. It is not yet, but it is a great desire to know Him like Paul knew Him. There are many things that still continue to compete with this holy goal and yet little by little He continues to conquer my selfish heart with His captivating love.

I know that your Goal is also the same, to know Christ Jesus our Lord.  I want to invite you to consider the words of Paul in Philippians 2:3-8 where he said, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!”

I believe that in these verses, we can find five principles of how to learn to know Christ our Lord. The methodology here is one of imitation and as we learn to imitate the mind and love of Christ, then we will grow in our knowledge of Him.                                                                                              
1.     Let us recognize how valuable others are.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let us imitate Him, the one who considered us of exceptional value. We are so valuable to Him that He gave up His own life, His own desires, His divine rights so that we would not be alone, afraid, and ashamed in this marred world. As we value others as God values them, we will know Him better.                                                                                                                          
2.     Let us look for the interest of others as our goal.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Let us imitate Him in that he always looked to put the interest of others as the goal of His life. He consciously and consistently chose to put God the Father and others first. God cares about your own interests, that is one of the reasons that He sent Jesus to die for us. Unfortunately, seeking after our own interest alone is not true love and it robs us of the opportunity to learn more about others and Jesus.                                                                                                                                      
3.     Let us renew our mind with the reality that we are not God.
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... Let us imitate Him by renewing our minds with the certainty that we are not God. Jesus set aside his equality with God the Father by becoming a servant to others. Every thought, every action, every move was directed to become a servant to others.                                                                                                          
4.     Let us divest ourselves of rightful self-worth by willingly descending to an inferior condition.
...but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Let us imitate Him by divesting ourselves of rightful self-worth by choosing to descend into the realm of humility. Let us choose to become humble and leave our rights behind us. Sometimes we are so full with the “our rights mentality” that we cannot see the value and the interests of others. Only the humble person is willing to empty himself in this way for the sake of others.                      
5.     Let us value obeying God more than our own life.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Let us imitate Him by choosing to value obeying God more than our own lives. Now this is hard, if not impossible. Here is where I struggle the most; my normal inclination is to love my life more that obeying God. But His love does not give up on me, the same Spirit that was in Paul is in me to strengthen me to fight the good fight. His unfailing love continues to grab me by the hand and gently guides me to Himself.

Finally, these five principles are meant to encourage us towards the work that God already started in us, knowing also, that He will finish it someday. I am encouraged and thankful to see that we all are striving together towards that goal of knowing Him.