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, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
He must become greater; I must become less.
In this text, Paul uses four “if” statements. It would be better understood if you used the word “since” in place of the word “if.” These phrases express the conditions that are assumed for the sake of argument. These four actions on part of the believers explain what Paul meant when he wrote, “make my joy complete.” Even though he is in prison, he finds great joy in knowing that the gospel was thriving in the lives of the Philippian believers.
Paul then encourages them to be “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” To be like-minded is to let the mind of Christ be in you. This means that we need to love as Jesus loved. Jesus loved us and gave His life up for us. This means we are to be singularly focused as Jesus was. Jesus came to do the will of the Father. He would not be distracted by controversy or opposition. Paul would experience great joy in knowing that those under his shepherding care were maturing in their faith.
They key to biblical unity is found in the verses that follow. Paul warns about “selfish ambition or vain conceit.” Humility is a virtue that Jesus demonstrated while on this earth. Humility is putting other’s needs before your own. Humility is valuing others above yourself. The keyword here is “others.” To think of “others” rather than ourselves is having the mind of Christ.
In verses five through eleven, Paul uses the life of Christ as an example of what Christian humility should look like. The phrase, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” commands the church to value Christ’s character as a model to follow. Paul clearly communicates that Jesus did not consider His own interests, thus allowing them to dominate His actions. If He did, He would have not died for the sins of humanity. Instead, He put what was in our best interest first and willingly surrendered His life for “others.” To be humble is to be “others” centered. Jesus modeled this in His earthly life.
In verse six, Paul reminds his readers of the supremacy of Christ by writing, “who (Jesus), being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped.” This is in stark contrast to the humble servant described in verses seven and eight. As a result of His humble service to humanity, “God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
Jesus’ humility came as a result of His obedience to the Father. Jesus is our model for humility and sacrifice. So, let us adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus and glorify our Father who is in heaven!
Questions to Ponder
Unlike many people today who seek to advance themselves through personal accomplishments, Jesus chose to put others first and obey His Father in heaven. In doing this, He set the best possible example of servant-leadership. How would you describe biblical humility? How can you foster humility in your spiritual walk? What are some ways you can promote unity at Oak Pointe Church?
- Wonderful Counselor, Almighty Father, Prince of Peace, I praise You for being all knowing, wise, faithful and true.
- Thank you Lord for being the Servant of all, humbling Yourself by being made in human likeness for the sake of love.
- Oh God, I confess my self-centeredness, selfish ambition, and my desire to care more about my own interests than that of those around me. I confess I want to be comfortable, have things easy and to be served rather than serving others. Forgive me and Your church LORD for our sins, have mercy upon us and lead us in the ways of Your heart.
- Shepherd us Lord, give us clean hands and a pure heart. Help all of us to be like minded, having the same love, being one in Spirit and in purpose. Teach us to love You and love one another, making every effort to keep the unity. I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Lord, I confess Your leadership is perfect. Teach me today to seek Your Face, to tabernacle with You, listen, and obey. I want to bring You joy in my thoughts and heart as well as in my words and actions. Cause my life today to be pleasing to You Lord. You have given all of us eternal encouragement from being united with Jesus Christ, comforted by His love, sweet fellowship with the Spirit and full of Your tenderness and compassion. Your faithful love is lavished upon each of us. Oh God, I want to have the same love, being like-minded being in one spirit and purpose with my brothers and sisters. Show me practically what that looks like moment to moment. Cause my will to be one with Your heart and will oh God so that I’m yoked with You and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Glorify Your Son in and through us all I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.