READ PHILIPPIANS TWO
After looking at the expressions of unity that Paul wants to see in the Philippian believers, he gives them two commands.
What command does Paul give the believers in verse three?
In verse four?
In some ways, it seems as though Paul’s tone is changing from exhortation/encouragement to teaching/commands. But that’s not the case! In fact, Paul is continuing his exhortation to the believers on the topic of unity.
How are these commands related to the unity Paul wants the believers to experience?
Unity cannot flourish in selfishness! When you and I are more concerned with ourselves we will be blind to the needs of others. Paul points our two ways that believers are self-concerned – concerned with their own significance (v. 3) and concerned with their own interests (v. 4). These are not just pitfalls to unity in the early church, but in our own lives today! When you and I are concerned that others know our significance, and when we build our community around our own agenda to make our significance felt and known, there is no way we can simultaneously seek unity. When you and I are concerned only with our own interests – our agenda, the things on our to-do list, our hobbies and passions – we cannot simultaneously seek unity. When our eyes are on ourselves alone, we will not experience the same mind-ness, same love, and same accord with other believers.
Yesterday we looked at what it meant for believers to be of the same mind/love/soul. What did we say was the common bond that leads to unity in the church?
The Gospel is the only thing that propels us to seek unity with other believers. When we think on self, we cannot think on others. And the cure isn’t a new regimen, routine or ritual – it’s thinking on Christ! We don’t need to replace our selfish thoughts with thoughts about other’s hobbies or interests (though, that will also likely be an outcome), but with Christ! As we think on the Gospel, we experience deeper unity than would ever be possible in our human strength – and that unity causes us to elevate others above ourselves and think on others’ interests in a way that is simply not natural.
Are there areas in your own life that you have allowed selfishness to fester? Have you been concerned with your own significance more than the Gospel? Your own interests more than the Gospel?
Have this affected your friendships? Your unity with other believers?
PRAY & REFLECT
Confess areas of selfishness in your own heart. Ask the Lord to forgive you and to give you a heart that seeks the Gospel above all else, allowing that love to overflow in concern and care for other believers.