A very good morning to you my precious family and friends
Philippians 2 verses 3-5 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mind-set as Christ Jesus”.
Reading these verses challenged me to ask myself a few questions, “Am I a genuine Christian? Am I true follower of Jesus Christ?”
If we can answer “yes” to these questions, then one issue that should be of vital importance to us today is the issue of belonging. Central to our identity, to who we truly are, is the reality expressed in these verses.
1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Ephesians 2:19-20 says “So you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, being built on the foundation of the apostle and prophets, Jesus Christ being the cornerstone.”
When we truly grasp what God has done in making us His people, then we will naturally stand in awe of Him and His work. But as we think about our new identity in light of God's grace, we can also talk very specifically about each of us as individuals.
John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
But do we truly love one another? Paul wants us as the church family to be united.
Paul gives us the necessary ingredients, the requirements for genuine unity. He mentions three ingredients. They challenge us to relook at this New Commandment that the Lord Jesus has given us and to live it out.
Verse 3 says Unity Requires New Eyes
Paul is telling us that we can look at our fellow Christians in one of two ways. We can either see them with the eyes of “conceit” or with the eyes of “humility”. The eyes of “conceit” are self-focused and self-absorbed. The eyes of conceit lead to “rivalry”. When we are self-focused and self-absorbed, everyone else can quickly be seen as competition for our time, our attention and our energy. In contrast, the eyes of “humility” are self-denying and others-focused. When we have these eyes, these new eyes, we see others as “more significant than ourselves.
We will be able to say he or she surpasses me. Their worth is incalculable. This is seeing them as God does.
Verse 4 says Unity Requires a New Heart
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Paul is saying, “Unity requires a new heart because you need to CARE about their stuff, just as you care about your own.” We must care about what is happening with our brothers and sisters, about their lives, and not just when there's some kind of crisis. Having new eyes leads to a new heart.
Verse 5 reminds us that Unity Requires a New Mind
To have these new eyes and to have this new heart is not enough. God wants this new perspective and this new affection to be our regular mind-set. Paul told the Romans in chapter 12 verse 2... Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind... And in 1 Corinthians 2:16, he reminds the Christians that “we have the mind of Christ”.
And that's exactly what he is saying here in Philippians 2:5. The new mind we are called to walk by is the mind which was also in Christ Jesus”.
In and of ourselves, we do not have what it takes. We tend to see with old eyes, to feel with that old heart, and to live each day according to our old mind.
The challenge is whether you and I want to and are ready to be changed by God?
Let us pray:
Father God, as we look at these verses, help me to have new eyes, a new heart, and a new mind, help me to have the mind of the Lord Jesus, so that I would stand united in His love. Lord help me to be regularly asking my fellow believers how I/we can be praying for them and to show Your love. In Jesus name. Amen
Much love from Maurice and Margaret