HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST JESUS
Paul encourages his flock in Philippi to seek unity. When unity is sought with human efforts, there is no success and it is weakened. So, Paul reveals the sole criteria: the mind of Jesus.
1. Paul calls for unity (1-4)
Paul calls the church to unity, for division is against God's will. Love must be reciprocal. As we have received the same spirit, so we form the same body. Experiencing mercy and compassion should have motivated them to act in kind towards others. Unity in spirit leads to lasting joy. Rivalry and conceit are relentless enemies against brotherly communion, and they inhibit unity. There are two ways to overcome them: first, consider others more significant than yourselves, taking into consideration the qualites and gifts others possess, while recognizing your own weaknesses, failures and limitations. Second, you must look to the interests of others.
2. Christ's example (5-8)
The best way to encourage humility and unity among the Philippians is to point out the example of Christ. The important thing is to turn the mind of each man to that of Christ. The outward appearance is nothing; what was Christ's mind? He was equal to God but did not consider it a thing to be grasped. He came down to earth as a man and made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant to serve men and give his life as a sacrifice on the cross in order to ransom mankind. Why was his act so sacrificial? How could he have given his life this way? It was because he loved God; so, he obeyed God (John 14:15, 21a). The cross was a scandal for the Jews who considered the executed as excluded from the people of God. To the Greeks, it was foolishness; even Cicero said to remove an executed man's name from the minds of Roman citizens. Whoever is hung on a cross is considered cursed. Yet Jesus took this position in order to save sinful humanity.