1 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.
Unlike many of the churches that Paul wrote letters to, the church at Philippi was a strong, vibrant church that was on the move for God. When a church is in multiplication mode and adding new members constantly, it can be an exciting time. New ministries are springing up and new people are wanting to jump in and be a part of something big.
However, with new people comes new problems and so Paul is giving the Philippian church a set of principles to live by to make sure that today’s progress does not turn into tomorrow’s hot mess. Let’s call these principles Unity Keys and look at each one briefly.
First, there is the key of having Christ’s love manifest in each of us daily. If we recognize that Jesus loves us regardless of our personalities and our faults, then that will help us to love one another and show compassion and tenderness to our brothers and sisters even when we don’t fully agree with them about something. Next, Paul talks about being like-minded. Although God does not want robots that all look and sound the same, He does desire for His children to be like-minded in pursuing His love and loving one another to fulfill the mission of the church.
Finally, Paul talks about the need for humility in the church. The reality is that the more gifted a person is, the more need for him or her to constantly seek God to stay humble. Remember, the very Savior of the world got down and washed some nasty, crusty feet just to show what it means to be humble. And so, whatever we do in the church for God, we have to remain humble and not get puffed up in our accomplishments. Also, we must, must, must value one another above ourselves. Let’s stop whispering behind each other’s backs because God gave this one a particular gift or anointing and instead, start praising Him for sending that gift into the local church to help it continue to grow and build.
So there we have it, the Unity Keys to keep our churches moving forward. Love, Like-mindness and Humility. Whether your church is multiplying, adding or doing no math at all, as you meditate on these words, ask yourself these questions:
“I’m part of the church so am I showing my church family love? Do I completely turn off and tune out when someone says something I don’t like or am I striving to be like-minded? Finally, in my humility, am I valuing others’ opinions, personalities and gifts or just looking at them side-eyed every time they open their mouths?”
The answers to some of these questions just may surprise and convict you.
~Pastor Dennis Davis