Unity Through Humility
Do all things without complaining and disputing…
Working together can be a true blessing, yet can be a challenge at times. The blessing comes from having many different people, with many unique characteristics, whom God has given different skills to in order to get a job done. Just as we are told we can’t operate properly without a member of the body (example shown as a hand, a foot, an ear, etc. as seen in 1 Corinthians 12), the challenge can come when that member does not work properly or move accordingly. Just as we would take the time to go to the doctor to find out why something in our body is ill or not working properly, when working together with other people, we must do the same…seek our physician, Jesus, to see why a member of the body of Christ is not working properly and then find out what to do about it. This can apply to our homes, families, workplace, schools, churches, etc.
As I was praying today about a situation I was asked to pray about, I prayed for God to bring resolution and unity to this situation. I then asked the Lord to provide me with a scripture and Philippians 2:14 came to mind. When I opened up my Bible to Philippians 2 to read the whole chapter, the title of that first section was “Unity Through Humility” and I thought “God, You always provide!” However, the title of the next section that holds verse 14 was “Light Bearers”. How fitting that is to my prayer request!
Paul is telling the Philippians that in order to work together in unity, they must be humble. They must be like-minded, of one accord and have the same love. Nothing can be done through selfish ambition or conceit but rather we must be lowly (humble) in mind and esteem others better than ourselves. Esteem means to respect or regard. In other words, when we are working together with other people, we must not try to seek our own selfish ambitions or raise ourselves above them. The perfect example of how to work with others in humbleness can be through examining the walk of Christ. Even Christ, working for His own Father in heaven, did not try to raise Himself above His heavenly Father but was obedient to what God had sent Him to earth to do. Jesus is a king, has authority and power, and has many titles, yet when He came to earth, He came as man though He was God and did not abuse His authority or position. He didn’t dress the part of a king so you’d never know He was a king. As His physical appearance was average, we know that He wasn’t followed because of His beauty or popularity. He didn’t make demands on people but He did make it clear on what they needed to do be saved and what they needed to change within themselves. He treated people with love and respect, correcting them in love when necessary and giving them the choice to change. He didn’t lord His position over people but spoke to them in such a way that those under Him or following Him wanted to respect Him and obey Him. He also recognized and handled quickly any possible internal uprisings that could affect the group. Such as when Peter questioned the outcome of John’s life (another disciple) whom Jesus loved, Jesus simply said “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:22) as He didn’t want Peter to be so concerned with John that perhaps His focus would be removed from Jesus. Sometimes when working together, our focus can be removed from Jesus and placed on those we are working with instead. In other words, in this race we are in, instead of keeping our focus in our own lane, we tend to look at all sides of us to see how far everyone else is and whether they are “catching up” or are ahead of us instead of urging them to go further.
Humility is when we can put others before ourselves and urge them to go further without fear of losing what we have or are doing. Christ had no fear of losing His position because He knew who He was and who He worked for. He had no fear of God loving someone else more than Him or utilizing someone more than Him because He knew God and was in one accord with Him. He had a mission to do and He did it and wanted to see everyone else complete their mission as well. He didn’t worry about what others were doing to try stop Him or even what the enemy was doing to hinder Him but was aware and alert to the tactics that were used against Him. He spoke and moved accordingly, utilizing scripture to combat it and relying on His heavenly Father to provide what He needed to get the job done, keeping His focus on God the whole time. Because of His humbleness and obedience, God highly exalted Him.
Paul tells us we are to do all things without arguing or complaining so we may become blameless and pure. This means we are being humble and obedient to the Lord’s directions. By doing so, we then can be light bearers in this dark world. When others see the light, as they did with Jesus, they will gravitate towards us and we can then lead them to Christ to be saved.
So, what does Paul, through the inspiration of Jesus, tell us to do in order to work in unity?
- Be like-minded; of one accord with the same love
- Let nothing be done with selfish ambition or conceit
- Be humble and respect others, considering them better than yourself
- Don’t look out just for your own interests but look out for the interests of others as well
- Be obedient
- Do not complain or grumble
When we are humble, we are able to work together for the greater glory of God and the mission He has placed in our hands. It is only through our own insecurities, fears, low self-esteem or pride that we are unable to be humble. However, Philippians 4:13 tells us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. So when we bring ourselves to the foot of the cross and repent and surrender these things that hinder us, Jesus will not only help us to remove them, but replace them with the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
If humbleness does not come easy for you, rest assured you are not alone. We will always combat our fleshly desires in one way or another. Take a moment today to go before the Lord and surrender it to Him. You may have to do this many times before He delivers you or it may take just once. Much depends on you. Put into practice encouraging others, even those who are struggling with humbleness, and be prepared for the changes that come from doing this.