The repeated ‘’If’’ in (2:1) is not one of doubt. Paul knew that they did have those things. So do we. So these words also apply to us. Because of all they had ‘’from being united with Christ’’ they could fulfil these injunctions (3-5). So can we.
There are intimations in the letter that there may have been some threats to the church’s unity (E.g. 4:2, 3.) So it was important for them to understand and implement Paul’s teaching.
There are things we get from knowing Jesus and being in Him, such as ‘’encouragement’’ , ‘’comfort’’, ‘’love’’, ‘’tenderness’’ and ‘’compassion’’. We are to share them; pass them on to others.
It does a pastor’s heart good to see his people loving each other (2). In fact, my greatest griefs in pastoral ministry have probably stemmed from disunity between Christians. I remember one church I served. The people were lovely and I loved them deeply. But one or two of them could get a bit fractious with each other at times. I confess I probably didn’t handle those situations well, but they caused me a lot of pain. Around the same time I read in ‘Time’ magazine how President Ronald Reagan was such an affable chap, he hated it when his staff didn’t get on. I felt I could identify with such an outlook. It mattered to Paul to see these Christians living together in harmony.
I have long believed (and said) that the application of (3, 4) alone would transform every church in the community. There can be no mistaking the clear calling to put others before yourself. Like Jesus, we are called to humbly serve, give and sacrifice for the sake of others. This is the key to unity. You cannot afford to dwell on what you’re receiving or not receiving; getting or not getting. You have to concentrate on serving, giving and sacrificing. Everything else is in God’s Hands.
Our goal, in this world should be ‘’to give, and not to count the cost; to fight, and not to heed the wound; to labour, and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do your will.’’
‘’Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.’’ The Message.
Ultimately, living ‘’in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ’’ (1:27) is about being like Christ (2:5-11).
Prayer: Lord, give me the grace to become more like Jesus every day. Cause Christ to be formed in me.