Philippians, A Fresh Look
(Warren E. Berkley)
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
The main idea of this brief paragraph is immediately clear. It is about how Christians are to think and interact with other Christians.
Why is this important? Because there is “encouragement in Christ,” and there is “comfort from love.” In Christ, we are equipped to encourage one another. In Christ there is joy and “comfort of love,” which enables us to be of the same mind, the same good attitude with each other.
The key words here are loaded with motive, good will and unity, which ought to have very direct and practical impact on each of us, as we let this part of Scripture change us and probe our hearts.
Living under the authority and example of Christ, we are able to be “of the same mind.” No. This doesn’t mean we are mental clones. Rather, the center governing principle of our inner thoughts are the same. There is unity of thought among us because of our mutual submission to Christ. We think alike because we serve the same Master. It is that simple.
Similarly, “the same love.” This is not about us imitating each other, to achieve this sameness. This is about imitating Christ and following Him, resulting in the inner and outer presence of this love. It is self-will and care that reaches out actively to serve others in the best possible way.
When Christians are “on the same page” following Christ, there is this uniformity and harmony of thought and attitude, “being of full accord and of one mind.”
The negative of this teaching is: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Any words or actions which are driven by selfish ambition or conceit should be resisted, rejected and internally rebuked by followers of Christ. It is not who we are.
Rather, “in humility,” we are inclined to “count others more significant than” ourselves. If it can be said that we look out for Number One, that One is Jesus the Christ, not us, not self, not a group or network of close, limited friends.
To be even more specific: “Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others.”
Are you on the “look out” for yourself or for others? Is your interests of heart self-centered? To whatever extent that is true of you, you are not aligned with the Savior.