September 10 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 8–9; 2 Corinthians 3
Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
READ Philippians 2:1–11
I surprised my wife with concert tickets to listen to a performer she’d always wanted to see. The gifted singer was accompanied by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and the setting was the matchless venue at Red Rocks—an open-air amphitheater built between two 300-foot rock formations at more than 6,000 feet above sea level. The orchestra played a number of well-loved classical songs and folk tunes. Their final number was a fresh treatment of the classic hymn “Amazing Grace.” The beautiful, harmonized arrangement took our breath away!
There’s something beautiful about harmony—individual instruments playing together in a way that creates a bigger and more layered sonic landscape. The apostle Paul pointed to the beauty of harmony when he told the Philippians to be “like-minded,” have “the same love,” and be “one in spirit and . . . mind” (Philippians 2:2). He wasn’t asking them to become identical but to embrace the humble attitude and self-giving love of Jesus. The gospel, as Paul well knew and taught, doesn’t erase our distinctions, but it can eliminate our divisions.
It’s also interesting that many scholars believe Paul’s words here (vv. 6–11) are a prelude to an early hymn. Here’s the point: When we allow the Holy Spirit to work through our distinct lives and contexts, making us more like Jesus, together we become a symphony that reverberates with a humble Christlike love.
By Glenn Packiam
REFLECT & PRAY
Who could use some encouragement from you today? How could you put the interests of others above your own, just as Jesus did for us?
Dear Jesus, thank You for saving me. May Your Spirit transform me into Your image. In my attitude and actions, help me to take on Your humility and sacrificial love. May it result in a greater unity with other believers in my life.
When Paul asked readers in Philippi to consider the humility of Jesus (Philippians 2:5–8), he used a word that describes the attitude of those willing to be counted among servants. More importantly, he wanted them to remember that those who live in the spirit of Jesus do so in the awareness that He first humbled Himself for us. It wasn’t a new thought. Long before, the prophet Isaiah had described a mysterious “Servant” as being despised, rejected, and familiar with pain and suffering. Before alluding to this person’s true honor and glory, the prophet went on to anticipate that He’d be held in such low esteem that people would find it hard to even look at Him (Isaiah 53:3). So too now, those who lower themselves for the good of others in the spirit of Jesus express the humility of our Savior who is “in very nature God” (Philippians 2:6).