If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.Â Â Â Â Philippians 2:1-4 (WEB)
Here is strong, maybe even brash, Paul pleading with the group to stay in unity. â€œDonâ€™t left the enemy sneak in with his selfish, divisive spirit and cause conflict!â€
It is an awesome experience to have unity in a group. If you have ever been in a workplace or church where there is unity, it is a joy to be there! Does that mean â€˜uniformityâ€™? Do we always have to agree on everything? No. Uniformity comes from outside pressure. We must all look alike, dress alike, think alike, worship alike, etc. That isnâ€™t healthy or biblical. Unity is about the heart. It is being of one Spirit! It means being a team and having like goals.
So how do we, as the Body of Christ, have an attitude that is about unity? Paul has some thoughts.
- Do not allow selfishness or conceit (self-importance) be my motive. Do nothing from a selfish motive. Nothing. No wiggle room there!
- Always see others as more important than myself. While this is not a trait that I am born with, I can learn the habit.
- Open my eyes! See the interests of other people! Be aware!
Oh, this is a hard attitude to have in this world. â€œWhat about a healthy self-esteem?!â€ â€œIf you donâ€™t look out for yourself, who will??!!â€ Jesus. Serve others and let Jesus take care of my needs. Seek first His Kingdom work and the rest â€“ well, He will handle it because He knows what I need! Hard times? Sure. Hard times will come. Jesus will show me how to walk through.
Being selfish is not a deep theological subject requiring years of study to figure out how to change. There is no shortcut either. Make a choice. Serve others. Having a child is a quick wake-up-call. All of a sudden, my needs are no longer first! Too tired to get up at 6 a.m. for work because I was up all night with a crying baby? No choice. Get up. 10-year-old has a $50 basketball fee? I wonâ€™t be getting new shoes for Easter this year.
Did I ever stop to realize that it was Jesusâ€™ desire to serve that brought Him from indescribable heaven to a smelly barn in Bethlehem and on to a disgusting cross at Golgotha. What was His attitude when given this servant task? Willing. Jesus was willing.