Philippians 2:1-11 – “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. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” NKJV
Years ago I saw a comic strip where the main character said, “I love mankind, its people that I can’t stand.” Through the years I have witnessed and heard people declare that someone robbed them of their joy. Frankly, that is not possible but people do play a significant role in ‘stealing’ our joy. In Philippians 1:15-18 Paul addressed various people and actions and how that affected others. He was facing some incredible times of difficulty and the church in Philippi were very concerned for his welfare. Epaphroditus brought a generous gift and provided tremendous encouragement to Paul’s heart but he also brought bad news regarding division in the church. There was a double threat, false teachers had come in from the outside and were spreading false doctrines and there was personal and theological disagreement among the people. Paul knew what is sometimes missed in today’s Christian world that there is a difference between UNITY and UNIFORMITY. True spiritual unity comes from within. It is a heart matter whereas uniformity is the result of pressure from without. That is why, in my view, that Paul took the action or made the declaration he did in Philippians 2:1-4.
This message was to believers and should have been a source of encouragement to work toward UNITY, LOVE, rather than DIVISION and RIVALRY. Paul seemed to be saying, “Your disagreements reveal that there is a spiritual problem in the fellowship. It isn’t going to be resolved by rules and threats; it is going to be resolved when your hearts are right with Christ and with each other.” Paul attempted to help them see that the Basic or Root of their problem and difficulty was “Selfishness” and the root of selfishness is “Pride.” There can be NO JOY in the life of a believer who elevates himself above others!
If there is a secret to Joy in spite of circumstances is we must attain “Singleness of Mind”. The secret to having Joy in spite of people is developing a “Submissive Mind.” Philippians 2:3 declares, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” In Paul’s Epistle to the Church at Philippi reflects Christ First in Chapter One and Others Next in Chapter Two. We see, Paul the soul winner in Chapter One become Paul the Servant in Chapter Two.
I am convinced that too many believers fail to grasp what the Bible is talking about with it speaks of HUMILITY. The Humble person does not think badly of himself or put himself down, he simply does not think of himself at all. It is Christ first and others next and self is pushed so far in the background it virtually does not exist. Andrew Murray defined Humility as being “that Grace, that when you know you have it, you have lost it.” I believe that the truly humble person knows himself and accepts himself (Romans 12:3). He yields himself to our LORD as a servant and desires God to use him in whatever capacity He chooses for the glory of God and the benefit of the Kingdom of God. Many have discovered there is virtually no greater JOY than serving others and seeing them become victorious in life. I believe it is when our eyes shift from SELF to GOD and OTHERS the door to Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory opens mightily.
I have only begun to scratch the surface and have laid a simple foundation for next time as we delve deeper into the thought of Having Abundant Joy in Life! God bless you richly as you travel today’s journey.