Key Verse: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
THROUGH A SERIES OF rhetorical expressions Paul inquires of the brethren in the opening verses of our lesson whether they have experienced consolation in Christ, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, affection and mercy. The apostle expresses confidence in the manifestation of these qualities in the lives of the Philippian brethren who would give evidence of increased Christ-likeness. This, Paul says, would provide him great joy.—Phil. 2:1,2
Our Key Verse emphasizes the importance of humility as a critical element in being acceptable to God, and also necessary to promote unity of the spirit among the brethren. Such a proper spirit will greatly assist in keeping strife and vainglory from entering our fellowship.
“Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.”—vss. 5-8, American Standard Version
The foregoing passage depicts the Master’s humility which we should imitate. It further reminds us that Christ is subordinate to the Heavenly Father, and did not view himself as being co-equal with God as the doctrine of the trinity asserts. As Jesus said, “My Father is greater than I.”—John 14:28
As believers, we must let no element of pride prevent us from reaching out to all of our brethren in any way possible, that together we may be sanctified fully, and the church completed. During his last night on earth, Jesus prayed for the oneness that should exist among his followers. “Now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”—John 17:11
Here the Master’s petition fully acknowledges that his physical presence with his disciples is soon to end. He desires that God’s protection and providences should be upon them. Jesus prayed that they would be kept together in unity of heart, mind and spirit, and also in the unity of the faith. Thus, they can experience a sense of oneness such as existed between himself and his Father.
We should always be supportive of our brethren in their Christian endeavors, and regularly meet together so that we can encourage one another. If we can appreciate the fact that we have fellow body members who have the same goal as ourselves, we can be a blessing one to another during our earthly sojourn. If faithful in these present privileges, we will be associated with Christ in helping to restore all the willing of mankind to harmony with God in his coming kingdom.
At the start of this new calendar year, let us resolve to be more faithful in our endeavors to imitate the Master’s conduct while he was on earth by submitting to the will of his Heavenly Father. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”—I John 2:6