“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of His Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, and of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife and vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in the fashion of a man, He humbled Himself, and He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:1-8)
Being trustworthy and desirable means being a messenger of the gospel. It means seeing the interests of those I serve and not my own. Philippians 2 is a comprehensive exhortation to the Church and thus to the Christian family concerning the necessity and duty to be attractive in our testimony, especially as an interactive, collective body.
Somebody that is desirable is somebody we like to have around. Another aspect of being desirable is trustworthiness. When you think of our homes, there is such a great need for us to become centers of free flowing grace whereby the authenticity of parents is so significant that our children like being around us. The home is where we immerse our families in the environment of the fellowship of the gospel where parents are the first partakers of Christ.
We have lost the reality that Christianity is a transformed life in a very difficult world. My light shines bright because I have Christ changing my motives and living in me. It is so true that we often think of Christianity as a thing that we join, a doctrine we agree to and a group we associate with. We forget that it is a changed life by the indwelling presence of a Savior who loves us and who gave everything for us.
With that in mind, how do you win someone to Christ? You win somebody to Christ not by information but by revelation. It is so important and so hard to express something about Christ without using words. It is difficult. But the reality is this: think of the person needing to hear the Gospel. There is one chief attribute of the person who needs Christ, and that is he is blind; he cannot see. In 1 Corinthians chapter 2 there is a wonderful illustration that talks about the inability of the natural man to have any capacity to take in the truth of Scripture. So when we bring information about Jesus, the information just sits there powerlessly of its own self. The person that we give it to has no capacity to deal with it.
Revelation: The work of the Grace of God
If we do not get a hold of what revelation is, we are going to miss out on what it means to be a Christian and we are going to miss out on what it means to spread Christianity. Revelation is defined in two verses in two chapters of the Bible very powerfully. One is in 1 Corinthians 2 and the other is in Romans 8. Both places describe revelation as a work of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” Revelation is a work of the grace of God and if I am going to be a vessel of the Gospel, I have to be a vessel of revelation.
You say, “How can you be a vessel of revelation?” First of all, there are going to be times when the Spirit is going to press us and we are going to be compelled by that movement of the Spirit to speak up and say something. We ought to learn how to walk in vitality of the Christian life so that we can be vessels fitted for the Master’s use at the time He wants to use us. If we are willing to be used by the Holy Spirit, it is most likely not going to be our words that the Lord uses. The key to revelation is “eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those that love Him.”
Relationship: Love is the vessel
Love is the vessel for revelation. If we grow in our capacity to be a vessel of love, then God is going to increase in us the capacity to be a vessel for revelation. That is why our testimonies are more important than the words we choose to use. God is going to bring the attraction forth through the desire that He has stirred up in us as we seek to receive those around us.
In our own situations at home, we probably fail frequently in our testimony before our children or the testimony before those that are close around us. We need to admit how weak we are and how frail we are in this area. We also need to remember that we are misrepresenting the Lord with a bad testimony, and also misrepresenting the Gospel.
Think about those we choose to reach. They already have a disadvantage because they are blind and will not be moved by anything we say unless the Holy Spirit Himself takes our words and makes them living words and brings life out of them. It is only going to be the work of the Lord. But how much more difficult is it if we live lives that are a testimony confusing the words and the message. How many people have been offended, not at the Gospel of Christ, but at the selfishness of His messenger? We misrepresent the Gospel and make revelation much less the natural fruit of our expression, but it becomes something that, instead of the fruit working in us first, the Lord has to work the fruit out of us in spite of us. To summarize, the whole focus of the message is training our desires so we might want to be trustworthy and desirable, vessels for the Master’s use.
Luke 20:26, “They could not take hold of His words before the people: and they marveled at His answer, and held their peace.” There is a testimony that begins to take effect before the blindness is lifted. They begin to see truth in a way that they have never seen it before, because it is visibly being lived out in front of their eyes. Acts 4:13, “…they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and they perceived they were unlearned ignorant men, they marveled; and took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” It is our association with Jesus that the Lord desires to use to cause others to be drawn to Him. It is through this drawing that the Lord will bring revelation by His grace and His mercy.
Like-minding back to Jesus
The premise or the rule that we build everything from is that we are required to have the mind of Christ in us. That is the goal, that is the objective, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” That is the foundational structure. That is why I have tried to emphasize the difference between telling words about the Gospel and expressing the Gospel in the terms of the Gospel which are the compassions of Christ because there is where the Spirit is going to reveal and minister life to starving, needy souls. That is the work of the Gospel. It is not brow beating, it is not bribing, it is just plain and simple acknowledging that when we have an open free flow of that love of Christ, that gives me the greatest joy that is possible on the earth, and when there is something blocking that, then something begins blocking the joy and it makes it more difficult.
Doing Nothing Through Vainglory
Beginning at verse 3, he says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind esteem each other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” This is directly following the concept of being of one accord and one mind. So as we move through this understanding of the nature of Christ-likeness, we have to start focusing on this one key aspect of making a reputation for ourselves. The subtle motive is that I want to get into the mix for my own benefit. And that spoils the pristine sweetness of all of this mercy and love and joy that is in God. He commands us not to do things through strife and vainglory.
What is vainglory? Empty glory. Empty glory is thinking we are something when we are nothing and we deceive ourselves. When we promote ourselves and our own interests, we are pursuing vainglory because we have something behind it. Listen brothers and sisters; this is a hard one to overcome. You cannot just say, “Do not be vain glorious” and good, we are cured! It is the natural instinct of the self to be vainglorious, we are always going to pursue glory to self. But the standard is, “Let nothing be done through strife and vainglory.”
Here is the key: the standards of the Gospel are the free flowing representations of the grace of Christ in my life. And when I am in the middle of a circumstance and I say, “What is the standard here?” You have to ask the question, “What would this look like if I had the mind of Christ and what would be appropriate in that mind?” The mind of Christ prevents us from being vainglorious as the shepherds in the home. And ultimately it is Christ in us that makes us both trustworthy and desirable!
May you take courage in the promises of our Savior as you lead in your home!