The next 21 days (during our “Refuel” series) my blog will be different as we continue to take a journey through the book of Philippians. I’ll share some of my own thoughts and hope you’ll ask God to open your heart to what He wants to say to you as you read a little each day from this book of joy. If you’re just joining us, welcome to the journey.
2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with 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 purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
In Philippians 2 Paul begins with a rhetorical device which was understood to answer its own question. In other words, he was saying: “IF this condition is true – AND IT IS – then…..” Therefore, Paul was saying; since Christ encourages you and His love comforts you, and since you enjoy the presence of His Holy Spirit and experience His mercy and compassion – then I want you to do something specific. Paul spells out what he wants them to do in verse 2. Read verse 2 again. Why do you think doing these things would make his “joy complete”? Why do you think fulfilling verse 2 would fill any Pastor or church leader with joy? Should you even be concerned with bringing joy to your Pastors/leaders? (you might want to read Heb. 13:17 & 1 Thess. 5:12-13).
It’s evident that Paul was concerned for this church; he didn’t want anything to happen that might destroy their unity. He addresses two members specifically in Philippians 4. Any attitude or action that causes disunity in Christ’s body (His church) is sin. Creating division in the church is one of Satan’s primary objectives because a divided church is spiritually weak. A spiritually weak church will not be focused on reaching people for Jesus Christ or helping them grow. Unity doesn’t mean uniformity. We’ll always have differences of opinions and ideas, but our personal preferences must never cause division within the church. Building the Kingdom of God should be so much bigger than promoting our own agenda. In addition to helping build a spiritually healthy and strong church, being one in spirit and purpose also produces joy!
Paul goes on to say “do nothing out of selfish ambition….but consider others better than yourselves.” He doesn’t say neglect your own interests, but he says look out for the interests of others. In other words, as a Christ Follower – the way I live my life IS NOT ABOUT ME (or at least it shouldn’t be). Christ expects you and me to live for His cause, and to consider the interests of others.
What can you do this week that’s “NOT ABOUT YOU” – where you serve Christ and His cause and consider the needs of others; in your family – your church – your community?