“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.” Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV)

In chapter 1 of Philippians, Paul told the church in Philippi they are going through the same struggle of suffering and being persecuted. This sets the context for the “therefore” at the beginning of chapter 2. Paul appealed to the church in Philippi, on behalf of their sameness. Sameness in spiritual struggles, but also sameness in spiritual rewards–the rewards of encouragement, comfort, common sharing, tenderness, and compassion. He knew exactly what they were going through–the good, the bad, and the ugly of following Jesus– he had the authority to instruct them. The instruction he gave was for them to be like-minded. And, if they are one in spirit–one in the mission of Spirit-driven Christ-following–then they will result in one-minded like-mindedness.

As Paul later explains, we are to be united, to be like-minded, to bring glory to God through our witness. We are to be an example in our unity, so that people see something different about us, not a quirky goody-two-shoes difference, but a difference that shines like a star in the sky.

So what does Paul mean when he says to be like-minded? In this chapter, he says to adopt the same mindset as Jesus and do nothing out of selfish ambition. He says to not look to our interests but to the interests of others.

This is hard teaching. It asks us to evaluate our lives, decisions, and hearts, then ask ourselves, “Is there any belief? Any philosophy? Any cultural stance we insist on out of selfishness?” Are we gripping anything too tightly at the risk of our unity? If so, Paul calls us to, in humility, lay it down.

Could you take time today to do a personal inventory of your heart? Is there anything God is calling you to surrender, so as not to hinder the unity of the body of Christ? I pray we’ll do the hard work of assessing our hearts and laying at the altar, every unnecessary thing we’re clinging to–everything we’re holding onto that causes division within the body of Christ. May we value others above ourselves, and lay those things down so we are like-minded, and shine like stars to bring glory to God.

Christian Winter
Seminarian Student

Subscribe to the Daily Fill