Lord, I submit myself to Your will and the interests of those around me.
Read PHILIPPIANS 2:1–4
Imitating Christ’s Humility
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“There is one body and one Spirit… one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:4,5). Praise God for unity.
Paul now appeals to the shared experience of the Philippians for his moral instructions. The repeated “If you have any… if any… if any” in verse 1 means something like, “Since you have experienced…” While some Christians neglect the importance of experience, others tend to overstress it. God has created us as physical beings who experience reality through our senses. These sensory experiences are processed and stored as memories and reservoirs of knowledge, which in turn influence our understanding of the world. Because experience needs proper interpretation, our experiences with God must be interpreted in line with biblical truth. For Paul, the believers’ shared experience in Christ is the basis for living together in unity and humility.
Having summed up their common experience in Christ, Paul urges the Philippian believers toward unity in verse 2. They should think alike and love alike, being one in mind and purpose. The growth of a church in maturity, purity and effectiveness is in direct proportion to its growth in unity. It appears that the issue of unity in the church was as much an issue in Paul’s time as it is today and can be addressed only if we heed Paul’s next exhortation.
To strive for unity implies that we let go of “self.” Paul urges the Philippians to be others-focused: to regard others better than themselves and to place the interests of others ahead of their own. While this seems unachievable, it remains the remedy for many of our problems. Most of us take ourselves too seriously and are too busy with our own interests. However, we cannot be Christians by ourselves; we need other Christians so we can grow together through our common experience in Christ. This is difficult and requires an attitude of humility and voluntary focus on the “other.”
Think how you can contribute to unity in the church. How can you consider others better than yourself and prioritize the interest of others in a practical way?
Lord, help me to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me and my needs. Keep me focused on others.
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