It doesn’t take a lot of searching to find discord, either in a church, in political circles or even among friends. The passage we are looking at today is set against the background of two quarreling ladies in the church at Philippi (Phil. 4:2-3). That quarrel was threatening to destroy the unity of the whole church. Paul made it clear that the secret of maintaining unity is humility.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 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 mindset as Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:1-5)
Wherever there is contentiousness, it is a revelation of the presence of pride. Pride, whether in a single individual life, in a family, a church, in government, or a whole nation, always destroys, divides, sets one person against another, perpetuates conflict, breaks up marriages and partnerships and unions of every sort.
When people are quarreling, the path to peace is to seek humility, rather than to assess arguments and weigh one against another, because when we do that we run into relative values which are so subjective it’s impossible to come to a conclusion. When tempers are hot, passions are aroused, and patience is strained, how can you get people to calm down and start thinking about a humble attitude? How do you stop the urge to defend yourself, and the stubborn insistence of what we call our
rights? The answer is in this marvelous passage concerning Christ (Phil. 2:6-11).
Christians can achieve peace — not merely a truce, or cold war, or an agreed settlement, but peace, which is a mutual sense of wrongdoing. Each person acknowledging they have contributed to it, and burying the past in forgiveness. The result is a deeper sense of acceptance than ever before. When we come to this point the quarrel actually helps unity rather than destroying it. It will result in deeper understanding and love than before. That is what the apostle is wanting for these two ladies in Philippi and those in the church who were taking sides with them.
The account of the humility of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is totally counter-intuitive to this world’s system, exposing the total folly of our own pride. Have we grasped the transcendent beauty of authentic humility? When we humble ourselves in relationships with one another, we are submitting ourselves to the Lord.
Father, may the Spirit apply these words to the practical situations of my life. May I simply give way and let my stubborn will accept the conditions and bring me to peace. Amen.
Source: The Mindset of Christ