1 If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.
In addition to walking through suffering with a joyful, hopeful attitude, the Philippians needed to walk as a family in unity and steadfastness.
Have you heard someone say, “If you care about me at all, then …”? This way of requesting something assumes there is already affection in place. What we are really saying is “since you care about me, you’ll at least do this.”
Paul presumed the Philippians had a desire to care well for each other. Based on his belief about them, he introduces four aspects of family life to motivate their affection toward one another.
“If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy…” (Philippians 2:1)
Since these are facets of salvation, it is through valuing them in our everyday lives that we will naturally be drawn to live in unity with fellow believers and love them in Christ. When we fully recognize how much Christ has done for us and understand the depth of His love, our pride and selfishness shrink away. Those who bask in the love of Christ aren’t consumed with position or recognition. We are willing to take a humble place and serve others, motivated by God’s love and grace. (1 Peter 4:8-10)
Learning to be others-focused, not self-focused, is a long, growing process as we surrender to the Spirit’s work in us as we study truth from Scripture. When we are communally intent on one purpose, we move ahead as partners and teammates toward a goal. If we’re choosing to put others first, we won’t have space to be proud or seek power. It’s hard to be self-important when we’re genuinely considering others as more important.
Do you remember the beginning of Paul’s letter?
He expressed his reason for his deep gratitude for them.
“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now (…) indeed it is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace (…)” (Philippians 1:3-7)
As you read his words today, gauge your willing partnership with other believers in Christ. What is currently shaping your attitude toward them? Is there anyone specific the Lord is bringing to mind? Pray over them and that relationship! What is your general and specific posture toward those in the family of God?
Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!
Authentically living out a life of worship to the God who rescued us from darkness requires accountability and intentionality. Join a GT POD and take the next step in your faith journey!