(Part 4)




September 28, 2014

Today’s reading:  Philippians 2:1-11



One of the elements of our 2015 theme is unity of heart and mind (Acts 4:32a). Paul considered such unity of critical importance. So he told the Philippines: “complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.” (v.2). The people of God are to have unity of mind and heart. After all, it is the same love that binds them—the love of God for them all, and their love for God and neighbor. They are to think one thing—how to please God, how to accomplish God’s purposes for their lives, how to truly become a people of God.

How can such unity happen?

First, “do nothing out of selfishness or vainglory” (v.3a). One must not think of oneself, what will satisfy self. One must not be self-referential. We are mere slaves of God. We serve God and not ourselves. We must be selfless.

Second, “humbly regard others as more important than yourselves” (v.3b). One must never stand on position or power or privilege, but be impressed only by one’s own sinfulness and shortcomings. Consider the well-being of others rather than one’s own.

Third, each should be “looking out not for his own interests, but everyone for those of others.” (v.3b). One must never look to one’s own interests or preferences or priorities, but always consider the interests of others—first, God’s interests and priorities; second, the community’s interests and priorities.

How can this happen? We are to look to Jesus and imitate him. “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus” (v.5). What was Jesus’ attitude?

One, he, “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.” (v.6). Jesus did not stand on power or privilege. He shed these! We are servants, and leaders are servant leaders. Though we stand in God’s place and do God’s work, we do not claim such distinction.

Two, “he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, …. he humbled himself” (v.7a,8a). We have no rights. We belong totally to God. We are His to do with as He pleases. We recognize our nothingness apart from God, and we must always be humble in the presence of our Almighty God.

Three, he became “obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (v.8). Jesus was totally obedient to the Father, even if it meant a painful death on the cross. We too are to be totally obedient to the Lord, and submissive to those leaders he places over us. We are to die to self and endure anything for the sake of the cause.


Because Jesus emptied himself and humbled himself, “God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (v.9). If we do the same, then God will also exalt us. If we are united in heart and mind, then we can effectively do our work, so that “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (v.11a).


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