"Conditioned Response"

Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

READ : Philippians 2:1-4

For some reason my dog and cat won’t respond to simple commands like stay, roll over, or shake. Why? Because I have never taken the time to teach them these tricks! It’s foolish to think that our pets can respond to commands without proper training. In this training process, called conditioned response, we provide the example, lifting their paw and saying “shake.” Then we reward them to reinforce their behavior.

Spiritual conditioning happens in much the same way. In today’s scripture Paul mentions four


that God gives us, and four corresponding


expected from us.

  1. If we have “any encouragement from being united with Christ,” then we should “be like minded.”

  2. If we have “any comfort from Christ’s love,” then we ought to “have the same love.”

  3. If we know any “fellowship with the Spirit,” then we should “be one in spirit and purpose.”

  4. If we have been shown “tenderness and compassion,” then our response should be humility, not “selfish ambition.”

How’s your spiritual conditioning? Paul’s joy was not “complete” until he saw the evidence of Christ’s presence in those he was helping to train.

written by Philip Rose


Lord, I thank you for your encouragement, comfort, fellowship, tenderness and compassion. May I respond with my whole heart and life. Amen.