1 November 2010

Philippians 2:1-4

"Make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish amibition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves." (vv.2-3)


As I write this, our television news channels are full of pictures of happy schoolchildren, rejoicing at having achieved good GCSE results. There must be some parallels between how those children's teachers feel and the sentiments Paul is expressing in this passage.

It's a lot easier to measure how well you're doing in some jobs than it is in others. A car salesman, for example, can count the number of cars he's sold in a week. Measuring success is lot harder with a more 'abstract' line of work such as being a minister. How do you quantify how many lives were impacted by that week of Bible study you gave, or by the sermon you preached last Sunday? Maybe Paul's plea here to the Philippians to "make [his] joy complete" was him needing some reassurance that his teaching had not fallen on deaf ears, but was making a difference in the lives of those who heard it.

The most striking thing about this passage (and, indeed, the whole letter) is Paul's fatherly dedication to the Philippian believers. Even writing from a prison cell miles away probably in Rome, he still feels some responsibility towards their spiritual growth, and takes this opportunity to encourage them to develop godly character.

To Ponder

Imagine that you're a minister or some other kind of leader. What would the people in your care have to do to "make [your] joy complete"?

Paul instructs us to "be of the same mind". How do you go about being "of the same mind" with Christians from other denominations (or your own) who might have a different view to yours on certain doctrinal issues?

Bible notes author

George Luke

George Luke was born in London, grew up in Sierra Leone and now lives in Buckinghamshire with his wife and baby daughter. He is co-author of the book Closing Ranks, published by SPCK in September 2020.

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