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(Part 50)


November 5, 2012
Today’s reading: Philippians 2:1-4

One big tactic of the enemy is to divide God’s people, because a house or kingdom divided unto itself cannot stand. Unfortunately the enemy has been hugely successful. He has played into the inherent weaknesses of people and is able to magnify the smallest slight or disagreement to become a major cause of disunity and even break-up.

But Paul tells us that if we live in Christ, love one another, have the Holy Spirit, have compassion and mercy (Phil 2:1), then we should be “of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.” (Phil 2:2). We have the mind of Christ, we have the love of the Father, we are one in the Spirit in our focus on our spiritual life and work. Imagine what God could do with such a people! The enemy does imagine this and shudders, and thus does all he can to cause disunity.

Disunity has been in the Church from the very start. The enemy causes it, but God is able to bring good out of it. Paul and Barnabas had a sharp disagreement and went separate ways, but that resulted in two missions rather than one. The religious congregations throughout Church history have split and re-split, but that has resulted in expanding the work. Even CFC split, but that resulted in a remnant true to its authentic charism and brought deeper into the heart of the Church.

In today’s reading, Paul gives us 4 principles for unity.

One, “do nothing out of selfishness” (Phil 2:3a). We look to love and serve God and His people with our all, with no consideration of personal reward. We live for Christ. We are called to empty ourselves in order that we might be filled with the things of God.

Among other things:

  • We regard every good thing we have as coming from God and gifts of God, which are to be used for the Kingdom.
  • Leaders do not keep the resources (people and money) under their care just for their own area, but look to how they can be of help to the larger work.
  • We are personally willing to do with less (time and money) in order to share what we have with the larger community.

Two, “do nothing .... out of vainglory” (Phil 2:3a). We are called to be holy as God is holy and to do the very work of God, even greater works than Jesus did. When God does bless and use us, this cannot be cause for sinful pride because we are just instruments, nothing apart from the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact we often are the obstacles that stand in the way of God’s glorious work.

Among other things:

  • We are able to accept the smallest and least distinguished task.
  • We make no claim on our position and do not resent being removed or changed if need be.
  • As we are used by God, we give all the glory to Him.
  • We make no “claim to fame” and avoid being thrust into the limelight, unless such is needed to further God’s work.
  • We are submitted to higher authority in the community and Church. We are obedient. While we can disagree and discuss, we are respectful and not insistent on our own opinions.

Three, “humbly regard others as more important than yourselves” (Phil 3b). This is the posture of a servant. We look more to our shortcomings than to our gifts. We expend ourselves for the sake of others.

Among other things:

  • As we desire our own spiritual well-being and the good of our loved ones, we look as well to the interests of all our brethren. No one is to be left behind as we make our way to heaven.
  • We go out of our way as need be in order to help address the needs of others.
  • We are supportive of the work of our brethren, always trying to encourage and build up.
  • In the end we affirm that we are unprofitable servants who have done nothing but our duty.

Four, each should be “looking out not for his own interests, but everyone for those of others.” (Phil 2:4). We must have no personal agenda in serving the Lord. We are not in this work for pay, position, power or privilege. We only look to helping bring more souls to heaven.

Among other things:

  • We do not only look to our own salvation and sanctification, but we desire to bring many others along the same paths.
  • Leaders encourage everyone to serve everyone else, becoming truly a servant community.

There is much to be done in the New Evangelization. Let us move forward in the unity and peace of Christ.

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