Philippians 2:1-5: Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.
I heard someone say this week that they don’t attend church because of their disdain of “organized religion” and the hypocrisy that is present in many churches. It really hurts to hear that because I know that a church family can be a vitally important place to grow in your faith and to raise a family. I cannot begin to count the many times that our church family came through for us when our family was faced with difficult or challenging times. For me, it was my faith in God that I knew would get us through whatever difficulties we faced. But I also am thankful that our church family was there alongside us, encouraging us and helping us, as we went through those tough times.
The church can be a powerful witness to those who need to hear about and experience the love, mercy and compassion of Christ, but it can also fail to live up to its high calling when it fails to conduct itself in a “manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul is writing to the church at Philippi and he is encouraging the church to conduct itself in a “manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul writes that we can do this by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, being united in spirit, and being intent on one purpose. We are to put aside our selfish nature and we are to humble ourselves in our relationships and interactions with everyone. We must continue to strive to be Christ like as we develop a humble attitude towards everyone.
When we operate from a mindset of humility, we begin to look at others in a different way. We move from acting selfish and we begin to regard the other person and their concerns or struggles as more important than our own. We then begin to think and care more about others than we do our own self. We are on the way to doing what the Apostle Paul says: “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” If we claim to believe in Christ and to serve Christ, we are to have this same humble attitude towards everyone.
We simply cannot be an effective witness for Christ unless we empty ourselves of our own pride and selfish ambition and open our hearts to look after and serve the needs of others. We should not seek or desire to glorify our own self. Our one clear mission is to preach and teach the Good News of Christ crucified and risen. Christ and Christ alone is to be exalted. Our mission as disciples is to lead others to the saving knowledge of Christ and to live a life worthy of our faith and calling in Christ. Only then can the church carry out our mission to spread the gospel message to a lost and hurting world.