So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…
I tried to be a part of that club; I really did. My qualifications and credentials certainly meet the standard. Although it took some time for the invitation to arrive, I eventually was accepted into the group. Things began well, and I acclimated to the environment pretty quickly. During the moments when I had to fake it to make it, I had no problem. I figured that eventually I would become more like the person I needed to be to truly thrive in that community. After a few years, I realized that there was a great disconnect. I simply did not hold the same values as the other members, and I was not motivated by the same incentives. It became clear to myself and others that I did not think like the group, and I never would share that mindset.
This portion of the letter from Paul and Timothy to the Philippian Church is a moment of pleading for the fruit of truth to manifest. The request for this group to be of one mind is conditioned on certain teachings being true. One of those teachings is that the members of the Church participate in the Spirit, which means that they engage with the same influence or leading. When we participate in the Spirit, we think not as people think but as the Spirit thinks. We give control of our mindset and thought processes to him. This is not only a letter to that part of the Church in that time but is a letter to us now as well. If we claim to participate in the Spirit, to be led by him, then we should be of the same mind. This means that there must be a clear congruence in how we think.
If the members of the Church are of different mindsets, then they will have different motivations and move in different directions. Some have tried to be one in mind by thinking like a certain teacher or human leader. This does not satisfy God’s requirement that we be united in thought, because the mind that we are to carry is that of the Holy Spirit. It is not sufficient that we share some ideology or belief system. What we need to share is God’s ideology, his way of thinking and doing. If there is any participation in the Spirit, we will reach that point. That will be our evidence. Father, show us whether we are engaged with your Spirit and united in mind, and teach us how to change if we are deficient in that respect.