“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:1-4
Paul appealed to his friends in Philippi to make him a happy man. The one thing that would make Paul’s joy complete would be for the people he taught, loved, and did life with was for them to grow and apply what Paul had taught them to their everyday life. One of the struggles of being a minister is spending year after year teaching undisputed truths and seeing the people you care so much about not applying those truths you share. Year after year you see people not grow into spiritual giants but rather become stagnate in their faith and in turn get smaller and smaller not making one difference in the world for Jesus Christ. I believe that was the concern of Paul as he pleaded with them to “fulfill his joy” by putting into practice the things he taught to them.
Paul told them there are somethings, things that if pursued with all their being, would make the suffering that he was experiencing all worth it. The first thing Paul mentions is that the church at Philippi must give themselves to unity. He says in verse 2, “fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Paul knew that as a group of people with the world against them, that if they were to survive, grow, and change the world for Jesus Christ there must be unity among them. They were a team, a family and as such they had to walk together, step by step. There must not be divisions, quarreling, or meaningless feuds. In God’s church there is no room for superstars, celebrities, or Lone Rangers. The church must be a unit that links arms and storms the beachheads together. In movies like Saving Private Ryan, the open scene was a hard scene to watch, however as you watch the soldiers storm that beach you could not tell who held rank, captains and privates all looked the same; they moved as one. If one person ran up the middle of the beach, we know what the outcome would be -- they would be torn apart. The same is true for the church today. We are to act as one body, fulfilling the great commission for Jesus Christ.
Paul goes on to say in verse 3, “3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” There is no room for personal agendas in the church. We are under orders to follow our commander only and without prejudice. Humility is a quality that is a requirement for all Christ-followers. Arrogance and boastfulness is repugnant to Almighty God. We as Christ-followers must live a life of humility, removing our own agenda - in doing so we actually freeing ourselves from those constraints that this world has embedded on our expectations.
Finally, Paul gives us the secret to happiness and fulfillment in verse 4 where he says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Why is this the secret to happiness? Because when we seek the interests of others we loose ourselves from the chains of self-gratification. You see we are taught from a very early age that my purpose is to seek pleasure, success, and fulfillment through my own efforts. In other words, the answer lies within myself. This world revolves around me, and I am only going to be happy by satisfying my own desires and lusts. This feeling has dominated our way of life and is stronger now than at any time in history. I have to get my own, I have to pursue the American dream, I have to feel good, I want this, I must do this…after all isn’t it all about me feeling good? The problem is that when we live our lives for ourselves we end up empty. We always want more and are never satisfied. Paul told the people of Philippi that the Jesus way is to live for others not ourselves. We find fulfillment in living our lives in serving others, that is the gratification that lasts. When you realize that your life is not for you, then you will start to understand the Paradox of sacrificial love, a love always pays you dividends.
Have an awesome week!
Love Pastor Jay
Life Group: Questions to ponder and Journal
- How are you applying the truths you hear from your preacher, teachers and godly men and women you are learning from? Are you growing spiritually?
- Are you a person who promotes unity? If not, why and what are you doing about it?
- How are you living for others this week?