(Part 11)


October 31, 2016

Today’s reading:  Philippians 2:1-4

Paul sought unity in the body of Christ in Philippi, invoking and looking to “any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy” (v.1). He told them, “complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.” (v.2). Since they were all Christians, they were to be likeminded, that is, with the mind of Christ. They were to be united, being parts of the one body of Christ. He sought unity of heart and mind, of vision and mission.

How was it possible? In this short passage, there are two aspects (there are many others).

First is selflessness. This has two related dimensions–looking not to our selves but looking to the good of others. So one, being unselfish. “Do nothing out of selfishness” (v.3a). We serve God and brethren without any personal agenda and without looking to what we can get out of it. And two, looking to the good of others, with “each looking out not for his own interests, but everyone for those of others.” (v.4). We look to the interest of others before our own.

Second is humility. Again this has two dimensions. One, let go of pride. “Do nothing …. out of vainglory” (v.3b). It is not looking for acclaim, position or power. Two, in regard to our relationship with our brethren, “humbly regard others as more important than yourselves” (v.3c). Look to the good of others before your own.

Pride and selfishness cause disunity. Because the focus is on one’s self, rather than the good of others. But if we look to serving others unselfishly and humbly, then that is the key to unity. God first, then others, then ourselves last.

*     *     *