Disunity Defeated and Joy Completed
“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.” Philippians 2:1-4
To overlook unity in the body of Christ is to deny the very essence of our salvation. We have been saved by a Triune God who transcends time and space. He dwells in perfect harmony; Father, Son, and Spirit. It has been this way for eternity. All that He has and is, He longs to give us, including this unity He enjoys.
The disciple of Christ is one who has made the commitment to turn full circle from selfishness and disunity in order to live for Christ. Through the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, we begin to act differently. Everything changes. Our view of the world, our neighbors, the Church, our goals and ambitions in life, all begin to change because at the center of everything we believe is a God of perfect selflessness and unity.
Paul is encouraging the Church in Philippi to walk in this unifying gospel, to be encouraged by his patience through suffering and to have faith in God. The endurance of the local Church depends on its oneness. Every member of Christ’s body should long to possess godly character by God’s grace.
Have you been encouraged in Christ? Have you known His comfort and love? If so, then undoubtedly you have come to know Jesus Christ. He has washed you from sin and is changing your inner man in so many ways, but still, there is lack. Not because of His inability, but because of the sinful flesh that remains in us all. When unity lacks, joy lacks. When joy lacks, the Spirit is quenched. When the Spirit is quenched, what hope is there for fruitfulness and the spread of God’s joy in this world? Is it possible to be in one accord and of one mind in the Church? Not only is it possible, it’s necessary.
Just envision a local church where unity thrives among the laypeople and leadership. Picture ministries that function together with the common goal of gospel proclamation and deep growth in Christ. Can you imagine a church where God is the ultimate and man’s ideas and ideals are secondary? You would think it would be easier to find such places. But it’s not.
But Paul is encouraging the Philippian Church, myself, and every believer on earth to set their eyes on the ambitions of Jesus. Look at what He did in order to bring oneness between sinful man and the Father. He didn’t come to this earth and magnify Himself. He came to the earth and humbled himself for the good of others. Every healing, every word He spoke, all the exorcisms and miracles he did, though for His glory, were not done at the expense of others, but at the expense of Himself; His own body and for the benefit of others.
Paul gives a very practical way for all of us to achieve unity in the body. It starts with a question of self-examination. Do your goals and ambitions promote the good of others or just yourself? Is your life here on earth defined by the character of Jesus? He humbled himself to death so that others would be forgiven of sin and saved. We’re not all supposed to think the same things, but everything we think should be undergirded by the gospel. Every desire, every church function, every ministry, every preacher’s sermon, every home group, board meeting, and planning committee should exist for the interests of others, and in that, the glory of God. What interests, in particular, should we seek for others? That this mind of Christ, of humility and oneness, be possessed by all who name His name. When this happens, the joy of the Church is made full.