Philippiansby David Sanford
In today's passage, Paul expounds on the importance of walking in unity. He then advocates humility-namely, concern for others' needs and not just one's own-as the basis for that unity (Philippians 1:22-26).
So, how do we demonstrate humility, show concern for the needs of others, and thereby strengthen unity in our local churches? Paul lists four ways.
The first way is by ″being like-minded″ (2:2). This means we're in sync with God and our fellow believers. We're filled with God's love. We're joyfully filled with the Holy Spirit. We're happy to encourage others. We're glad to show much grace. Let's be determined to make this our daily experience.
The second way is by ″having the same love″ (v. 2) for your fellow believers as you have for God. This is hardest to do in times of suffering, as pain causes us to turn inward. In such times, many of us long to feel a tangible embrace from God, to know He is with us and cares. In such times, we are unable or unwilling to be there for other people and care for them. Yet what more could Jesus Christ do than He already has done on Calvary? Yes, that's right: He ascended back to heaven and now offers specific, heartfelt prayers for each of us by name. What comfort and love, indeed! Now, let's share that comfort and love with our fellow believers (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
The third way is by ″being one in spirit and of one mind″ (Philippians 2:2). After His ascension, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to all believers. While the Spirit's indwelling is permanent, His filling isn't. This is why we need to ask God daily to fill us with and govern us by His Spirit (see Ephesians 5:18). Like Christ, the Spirit is our Master, Teacher, and Leader. He not only fills every fibre of our being, but also speaks directly to us. Are we listening? If so, we enjoy sweet fellowship with the Spirit.
The fourth way is to ″in humility value others above yourselves″, ″looking . . . to the interests of the others″ (Philippians 2:3-4) as you make choices each day. Again, the Spirit makes this possible at every turn. After all, He is our constant Comforter, Counsellor, and Encourager. True, when we sin, He is grieved. And when we keep sinning, He is quenched. But when we ask God to wash and cleanse us, the Spirit is ready to fill us anew. The Spirit speaks words of tenderness and compassion. All is forgiven. All is renewed. Now, demonstrate humility, show concern for the needs of others, and thereby strengthen the unity within your church.
Which one of the four ways described in Philippians 2:1-4 comes easiest for you?
Which one of these four ways comes hardest for you?