Have you ever found yourself, while reading scripture, going on auto-pilot when you come to a passage that is familiar to you? Perhaps it’s one of those verses you learned early in your life, or one you’ve memorized as part of a study.
It’s easy to forget the context, and even the full meaning, of those scriptures as we read them. In my case, here is a passage that I love:
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus 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.
(Phi 2:5-11 NASB)
What a great study this is on the character of Jesus Christ! I have studied this, incorporated it into song, sung many other songs based upon it, and committed it to memory. What I often do as I am reading in Philippians 2 is skim right past this:
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
(Phi 2:1-4 NASB)
In other words, if there is anything to this gospel at all, we must have the same mind, love, spirit, and purpose! And we must do this out of humility! Needless to say, I have not found many songs about this. And I certainly haven’t (yet) written any!
But notice what amazing power is there as we consider this. As we humble ourselves, as we empty ourselves, as we unite ourselves in spirit and purpose, we will see the encouragement of Christ, the consolation of love and the fellowship of the Spirit. We will see affection and compassion grow in our lives and in our churches.The only way for us to be of one mind is to take the example of our Lord in humility. This is the only way to heal division in the church. This is the only way to present the gospel to the world. This is the only way that we can truly worship together.