by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
If there is any encouragement in Christ be of the same mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit (Phili. 2:1–3, NRSV).
Paul sent this letter to the Philippians to acknowledge their gift to him. But he also wanted to talk about the disunity in their congregation.
Disunity is the sin of many Christians—then as well as now. We get caught up with fighting each other instead of facing our common enemy. In doing so we promote our personal interests instead of the interests of the whole church.
The causes of Christian disunity, says the apostle, lie in your smallness and self-conceit. You lack appreciation for what God has given to others. The remedy is in the resources you possess as a church of Christ. If what you have in Christ means anything to you (the comfort from his love, the fellowship with his Spirit, the tenderness and compassion of the God who saved you)—if what you have in Christ is real to you—get rid of your selfishness, conceit, and party spirit.
Paul climaxes this appeal for unity with a presentation of Jesus our Lord who came from heaven to save us by becoming the servant of us all (vv. 6–11).
The church often discusses this great word picture of Christ's work. And this ancient confession is worthy of careful study. But let's not forget that originally Paul used these words as an argument to end our selfishness and party strife. For these have been disabling sins of the church since time immemorial.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version