1So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. —Philippians 2:1–2
No surprise that in a Bible book dedicated to joy, an entire chapter is spent on selfishness versus selflessness. Philippians, chapter 2 lays out the issue that keeps us from choosing joy the way God desires. The heart of the problem, the sin that causes all of the misery is selfishness.
Philippians 2:1 Paul’s like, “So, is Jesus workin’ for you? I mean really, is He impacting your life?”
You say, “Well, what do you mean?”
He begins, “Is there any encouragement in Christ?” Jesus used a related word in John 14, describing the Holy Spirit as a “comfort” or a paraclete-encourager. The idea is “to come alongside.” Has the Lord come alongside you? Has He encouraged you and strengthened you as much as you would allow?
Here’s the second thing: “Any comfort from love?” Have you been comforted by the love of God in your life? Are you reassured to know that Almighty God cares for you?
Third, “Any participation in the Spirit?” Other translations have “fellowship” there. Have you been meeting and participating with some of the Lord’s people? Do you find that some of your most joyful times come when you get with God’s people, talk about the things of the Lord, then roll up your sleeves together in faithful, fulfilling ministry in the kingdom of God?
And then this, “Any affection and sympathy?” Have you seen that the closer you get to the Lord, the more He gives you a heart for people? I mean, you were so selfish; then you came to Christ; then all of a sudden you’re like, “You know what? What she thinks or they need really does matter. It’s not just about me.”
So Paul’s like, “If these things are true...”
And we’re like, “Yeah, they are true.
Then he delivers the command of selflessness: “Make my joy complete.” If you’ve gone far in Christ, go all the way, man! “Complete my joy.”
Well, Paul, what would complete your joy? Here it is: “by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Now what is that if it’s not a death to self? We have unbeatable reasons to be selfless!
Father, You continually give me so much in my relationships with other believers. Continue to point out selfishness in me, and lead me to become more and more like You in being able to see and respond to the needs of others. Thank You for the joy of being part of Your body, the church! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.