Summary: The road to unity is paved with humility. Paul shares 5 reasons why we should express humility in an effort to foster unity.
Let me give you five reasons you should express humility and pursue unity.
Why Should I Express Humility and Pursue Unity?
REASON #1: I AM ENCOURAGED BY CHRIST’S PRESENCE.
Paul asks these Philippians a rhetorical question that does not need an answer. He asks, "Do you have consolation in Christ?" The obvious answer is yes. Because I am a Christian I have Christ encouraging me when I’m down and bringing me close to him in intimacy and closeness.
What does that mean; "If there be any consolation in Christ"?
The word Paul uses here that is translated "consolation" is the greek word paraklesis and it means ’to call to one’s side, to bring near, to encourage and comfort’.
I remember one time, when I was around 10 years old. I went to summer camp with my church for the first time. This was the longest I had been away from home. I remember the first few nights being so homesick. I cried for my mom and dad. I missed them so much and all I wanted to do was see them and have them come and get me.
I’ll never forget the camp counselor who literally poured courage into my little heart. He said, "Hey, why don’t we go sit outside and talk about it." I sat down with him and he listened as I shared how homesick I was. Then he shared love and compassion with me. He told me I could make it. He told me I could do it. And his presence brought courage back into me. At the very least, it helped me get through the nights there.
That’s usually when I became homesick. During the day, when I was busy with activities I wasn’t thinking about home and wasn’t bothered with homesickness. But when it came time to sleep in the bunks, at night, I lay there in my sleeping bag and became aware of my loneliness.
This is what Christ’s presence does for us. He comes to us, puts His arm around us and says, "Let’s sit and talk awhile." He encourages us to keep going, to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord and not to grow weary in well doing.
Paul says, "This is why you should express humility, because Christ expresses humility to come and encourage you."
You know, I thought about that counselor, Rock Rioseco. He was cuban, handsome and very tall. He was studying for ministry. I was a little chump kid. I hadn’t even hit puberty yet. He didn’t have to take his time, sit down with me and spend time encouraging me. For him to stop and focus on me, one of his campers, was an expression of humility. He humbled himself and came near to me and gave me his presence, his friendship, his time. And Jesus does the same for you and me.
Jesus expresses humility by coming down to our level and giving us his divine time. The first reason I should express humility in my relationships and take time to pursue unity is because Jesus does the same for me.
How does Christ encourage me?
1. He supports me when others desert me.
"At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." - 2 Timothy 4:16-18 (TNIV)
2. He supplies me when others forget me.
"Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me." - Philippians 2:25-30 (NKJV)
When you begin to see Christ as the sole source of your encouragement, then you are able to reach out to others and express humility and work toward unity.