Summary: We have become a society centered on
We all are selfish by nature. The unhappy trend in North America is that self is becoming more and more important. Reality shows on T.V. underline the growth of this attitude; that self is the primary motive of people in this culture. The antics on these shows, we laugh at, but the underlying reality is the premise that self is the most important truth. That is why we watch these shows – to witness people being selfish.
In Philippians 2 Paul is writing to the people of Philippi, who he loves. He sits in a prison cell in Rome and writes to them about their inner motives in life.
If you look closely at this passage it tells us a lot about Paul. It tells us where he is spiritually and more important it tells us what he has learned from Christ. He demonstrates that his happiness is bound up in the spiritual welfare of the people. That is a profound way to think – that he can only feel real happiness if they are spiritually well. That is the mark of someone who in fact loves them. His deepest joy depended, not on his own personal comforts, but on the spiritual progress of those whom he loved.
He asks the people of Philippi to complete his joy – not by giving him gifts, but by living together in holy love and “keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
The whole philosophy of Christian life is stated in one sentence by Paul in the previous chapter. “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Now, in chapter 2 we learn about the pattern for Christian living, which is the mind of Christ.
It cannot be an imitation. When we think about this “mind of Christ’ we need to understand that Paul meant that the ‘mind of Christ’ was supposed to be in us, not imitated – there is a big difference.
Wendy and I were watching T.V. the other night and there was an ad on for something or other. They showed the Toronto Argonauts football team’s locker room. In it worked a diligent man of about 30. The team members call him ‘Dave the Wave.’ He was obviously different than other people because he had Down Syndrome. He was in charge of the towels and drinks for the players. As I watched the commercial I thought how wonderful it was for this child-like man to work there; these huge players towered over him and rubbed him on the head on the way by. Dave was included in some team pictures and there was this very real feeling that he was loved by all the team. His other job was retrieving the football tee after each kick-off. He would be ready and dash out for it and bring it back with tremendous pride. This is his job and he delights it.
The interesting thing to me was the reaction of the players to this man. They reached out to him because he is the definition of one who has no perception of selfishness. Every moment of Dave’s day is devoted to doing his job, which was doing for others. This gentle man, never it seems, is concerned about self. He derives his joy from being concerned for others.