Philippians 2:1-11: How to Relate to One Another
June 17, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
What is the right model for our relationships with one another? According to Paul, the key is to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (2:5). What does this mean in practice?
First, focus on what Christ has done: The encouragement from being united with Christ. The comfort of his love. The commonality of the Spirit. Tenderness. Compassion. If you are experiencing difficulty being united with other Christians, the first thing to do is to focus on what Christ has done for you both. Do you have “any” encouragement (2:1)? Surely some! Indeed, much in every way—therefore focus on what Christ has done for you both.
Second, then seek to emulate that love and attitude that is evidenced in Christ’s love for you in the way that you treat each other. Be “like-minded”; have “the same love”; be “one in spirit and of one mind” (2:2). There are many areas in which Christians disagree. There are many opinions we may have about various matters. But focus on what we do have in common and seek to emulate that love of Christ in the unity we have in Christ together.
Third, “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” (2:3). Christians are not to be without passion for the cause of Christ, but that kind of “ambition” for the things of God is quite different from this kind of “selfish ambition.” In what way is it different? The person passionate for the gospel actually values others above themselves. They think of others as better than they are, more important. And their goal is not to look “to your own interests,” but instead to look “to the interests of others.”
So, fourth, all this emphasizes the “mindset of Christ Jesus” (2:5) which Paul then describes in a beautiful portrait of the humility and love of Jesus. Jesus, fully God (2:6), became fully man (2:7), and was obedient to death on a cross (2:8). He rose again, was exalted on high (2:9), so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (2:10). When we put others ahead of ourselves or serve others, we are not losing our own nature or personhood but instead acting as Christ did—fully God and fully man—to take on the role of a servant to save others. And as we do that, we follow Christ’s attitude and action in how we relate to others in our relationships with one another.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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