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.

-Philippians 2:1-4 NIV

Have you ever been encouraged or comforted by God's love for you? Have you ever been in the middle of worship and really experienced God? Have you ever felt close to God in a moment and not been able to exactly explain what you felt?
I would guess most of you have at least once, and if you haven't, I can guarantee you will by the end of this year!


The first two verses here are if-then statements. In verse one, Paul is listing off some things that most Christians at one point or another have felt or experienced (just like the questions I asked up top). He then starts verse two with "then", meaning that we should do whatever is coming up because of what he stated in verse one. So because of God's love, we are called to be like minded and also lowly minded (verses 3&4). Because of God's love for us, we are to be unified.

what does it mean to be unified?

Unity is something that is very hard to come across today. It seems that everyone has at least one thing they disagree upon with someone else. So what does it mean for a group of Jesus followers to be unified? It means that above all else, we are to focus on the love of Jesus for us. Paul doesn't begin these verses by saying "If you agree with this person then you must be like minded", or "If you agree with this person you must like minded." He makes the point that if you are a Christian, and another person is a Christian, you should both be able to be of one mind and love one another because of Jesus' love for you. 

how can we be unified?

So you might be thinking, "Cool, I'm supposed to love other Christians, but I don't think my feelings are going to change about certain people any time soon." I'm glad you thought that, and if you didn't think that I believe there is still something to be learned here.

Paul tells us in verses three and four that the best way we can remain unified as the body of Christ is by thinking of the interests of others before yourself. The best way that you can love the people around you in your life is by meeting needs they have. That might mean praying for your friend on a Monday night, or sitting next to a person at lunch that you normally wouldn't. Maybe it even looks like humbly serving your roommate that you can't seem to get along with. Whatever the scenario, remind yourself that the best way to love other people is by serving them.

pray

To end you can pray this:

God, give me your eyes and your heart for the people in my life. Show me ways I can love the people I already love better, and show me ways that I can serve people that are difficult for me to love.

Amen.

- Nick