When the believers in the Macedonian city of Philippi heard of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, they sent him financial gifts. And in response, Paul wrote this beautiful letter. Not only to thank them, but to give an update on his circumstances, to encourage them to stand firm in the face of persecution, to commend both Timothy and Epaphroditus, to warn them of the danger of legalism, and in this chapter, to stress the importance of unity and humility.
Paul begins by asking the Philippians to, “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Phil. 2:. 2) The Gospel is all inclusive. God loves each of us equally. No one person of the church is more important than the next. And as members of the body of Christ, it’s important that we put ourselves aside and strive to meet the same goal in love, joy, and unity. That goal being to advance God’s kingdom on earth.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (phil. 2:3) We all love a little pat on the back once in awhile, along with some acknowledgement and appreciation. But when our own desires become our main focus, no longer are we working for God. Instead we’re working for the pleasing of our own egos. And that goes against who Jesus is and what He teaches. For as He says in Mark 10:43-45‘ “..whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Imagine that. Jesus who was fully God willingly gave up the privileges of deity and, “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in the appearance of man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (vs. 7-8) Jesus lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a humiliating, excruciatingly painful death nailed to a Cross. He willingly became our substitute for sin, paying the debt that we owed. All in perfect obedience to the will of God and out of love for us.
God always richly rewards obedience and because of the obedience of Jesus and His sacrifice, God exalted Him giving Christ a name above every other. A name greater than anything or anyone. A name at which “every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (vs 10-11)
Jesus is the perfect example of humility. And following His example means doing all that God asks of us cheerfully, without “grumbling or disputing.” It means Shining as bright lights in a dark and wicked world. And it means as ambassadors of Christ, making sure that our words and actions reflect the honor and humility of our Savior.
Paul ends with a plea fitting for not only the Philippians, but for all believers. Stay strong, keep doing good, hold fast to Jesus. and on the day of Christ’s return We shall stand proud knowing that all We did and all We went through wasn’t for nothing.