PHILIPPIANS 2:1-4: “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.”
OBSERVATION: Psalms 133:1 declares – “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Unity is essential in the life of a healthy church, a healthy marriage, a healthy family. Yet, where does unity come from, and how do we attain it?
Most of the time we try to achieve unity through agreement. If we can only get everyone on the same page we will have unity – right? Not necessarily. We may experience unity for a moment but we will quickly see it slip away. We also will sacrifice the uniqueness of our individuality and different perspectives. Many dynamic moves of the Spirit have been quenched as they tried to maintain unity through agreement. What really happens is that you simply weed out the people that are different than you. You don’t achieve the unity that Paul is writing about, you achieve a coerced unity.
Then what is the answer? All Biblical unity flows from our relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul does not ask the church in Philippi to come together around what they believe – but around THE ONE THEY BELIEVE IN! “Therefore, if there is any consolation IN CHRIST, if any comfort of (HIS) love, if any fellowship of THE SPIRIT, if any affection and mercy (IN CHRIST)…” It is only IN CHRIST that we are able to humble ourselves, lay down our own opinions and ambitions, and serve one another. When we are abiding IN CHRIST we are not interested so much in who is right, but in whether we are walking in love. We are looking toward the interest of the weaker brother and sister. We are more interested in their spiritual growth than in our being right. When humility and love are our guiding principles we are able to enter into the “Unity of the Spirit”.
Aimee Semply McPherson once said – “In the essentials unity, in everything else love.” The essentials are the nature of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Believers from all denominations agree on this, yet differ in doctrines of baptism, end times, communion, and the like. Paul did not call us to gather around these things – he called us to gather around Jesus Christ! Jesus is Lord! We are saved by grace through faith in the completed work of Christ! These are the essentials. These are the basis of our unity. Humility and love through Christ are the dynamics that keep it alive.
Lord, help me to walk in humility and love toward all who call upon the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Let me lay down my selfish ambitions in order to serve them, love them, and help them grow in Christ. In Jesus Name!