Verse of the Day Devotion. Philippians 2:4
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4
We start in verses one and two with the following. “If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2. Paul did not mean to doubt that there is any encouragement in Christ, that there was any love, or any fellowship of the Spirit as well as any affection and compassion. He knew the hearts of the Philippian people; therefore he writes it by way of an argument. This should be looked at like this. Since there is consolation in Christ, since there is comfort of love, since there is fellowship of the Spirit, be one in Christ. Do not be divided; love one another. How urgently he pleads! How he multiplies expressions! Love among Christians is so precious that he begs for it as if for his life. The ‘if’ has the idea of ‘since’. And because they have this heart, they should strive to be like-minded. This speaks to the intellect, their way of thinking, but it goes beyond that. It incorporates the will and emotions into a comprehensive outlook which affects their attitude. With this word and the contexts in which it occurs, Paul spoke of the values and ambitions which surface through the mind. This is unity. It is not found in an identical lifestyle or personality. It occurs when Christian people have the same values and loves. Paul sought this in the Church in Philippi.
Then we read, which includes our focus verse. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4. Paul calls for the Church, in Philippi and ultimately today in ours, not to do things for our own glorification but for the benefit of others. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way. “Nothing is to be done through strife. But how much of religious service is from top to bottom carried out in strife? Sometimes one sect will seek to increase itself merely for the sake of becoming larger and more influential than another. Do Sunday school teachers never try to get good classes and to obtain conversions that they may be more honored than others? Does that never enter the classroom? Do street preachers never wish to preach better than others, and in order that they may win more applause? I know this from experience, that the spirit of strife may easily enough come into the pulpit, and that the minister may be seeking to outrun his neighbor when he thinks he is filled with zeal for God.” This is sad, but often so true. There have been several Churches where I did not see what Charles saw, but there were many I did.
We must be careful that the way we live our lives does not look like how the world lives theirs. The world believes that a successful life is one where we have all we could ever ask for; if we want something we can get it or if we want to go somewhere we can afford it. True success is found in acceptance of the salvation Christ gave us and living life in a similar way as Jesus. He must be our guide. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8. When it comes to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and also the unsaved, we must be ready to ‘give it all’, as Christ did, in order to fulfill our calling. As seen above, Jesus emptied Himself to become a man, humble and obedient to the Father to provide salvation in order that we may be with God forever.
The question I want to ask is, are we willing to give it all for the benefit of others, saved or unsaved? This can be difficult to answer because we may not be willing to admit it. But we must be honest in order to see if we are living as we ought. Remember the words of Jesus regarding His second coming. “Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:44-46.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.