Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above
I don’t know about you but when I read these verses, my focus automatically tends to go to the parts that tell me something I’m supposed to do….or some way that I’m supposed to be:
BE one in spirit and purpose.
DO nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
DO consider others better than yourself.
DO look to the interests of others not just your own.
And the big one…
BE like Christ Jesus.
This not only feels like a performance checklist, but it feels…overwhelming and impossible. (Does God know me? That’s NOT me! Or even if it is me sometimes, it’s definitely NOT me most of the time!)
However, I think that being drawn to that part of the verse…and thinking of it that way is actually more about my own way of thinking than God’s. If we read the beginning of the passage again, we can hear God’s heart and how it is possible:
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion…”
The “checklist” above is not remotely possible on any consistent basis without being in a position of receiving from God. We cannot pour out what hasn’t been poured in. IF we are in fellowship with Him, IF we are receiving His encouragement, comfort, compassion….THEN we become (not work hard at being) like-minded, one in spirit and in purpose, humble etc. The more fellowship we have with Christ, the more our attitude shifts into His.
Cultivating our fellowship with Him...