Philippians 2:1-4 – So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
The church in Philippi was concerned about Paul. Hearing he was imprisoned in Rome; they sent an envoy to encourage and care for him. Paul sent a letter, our book of Philippians, in reply. Chapter one was intended to calm his Philippian friends. Paul insisted he was fine and even rejoicing that the gospel of Jesus Christ had been proclaimed in the midst of his struggles.
Next Paul turned his attention away from himself to exhort the Philippians, “Complete my joy.” Paul was already joyful in Christ, but he also cared deeply for the church. He urged the local church members in Philippi to humbly pursue unity in Christ. Paul loved the church as a good father loves his children. Fathers celebrate love and peace among their children, and Paul desired the same for the family of God.
Perhaps the chief enemy of Christian unity is our human pride. We each naturally maintain our own personal perspectives and preferences, and empathy is abandoned. Social media seems to only fuel our selfish fires by training us to loudly declare our personal opinions without respect to others. Society is becoming more active at talking (even yelling), and fewer seem capable of listening. The result is a fractured society of isolated groups. People divide over one issue and then another until they are left standing with a small group of homogenous thinking.
I agree with Paul, “Make my joy complete.” Make my joy complete by engaging in profitable dialogue. Make my joy complete by placing others ahead of yourself. Make my joy complete by seeking Biblical truth for your minds, hearts, and homes.
Let the church lead the way. Let the family of Christ practice mature conversation and sacrificial love for one another. Let us hear each other. The point is not for either of us to be declared superior but so that each of us may be encouraged to better understand and follow Biblical truth. None of us has arrived; not one. So, let us grow together.
Paul’s exhortation rings true for us today as much as it did for the Philippian church, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”