In Philippians 2:1-4, Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to be of “one mind.” The word translated “mind” comes from the Greek word which means, “To direct one’s mind toward a thing, to seek, to strive for” (Thayer). Therefore, we are to all have the same goal in mind. It is not a matter of having a robotic personality where we all think the same things and do everything alike in every way. Instead, it is the focus which envelops us to work toward a singular goal: Heaven. However, there are requirements to be able to have this one mind-set. Consider three things that we must have if we are to have “one mind.”
Love. Paul writes that if they are to fulfill his joy they needed to be like–minded, “having the same love” (Phi. 2:2). This love is two-fold in nature. It is a love for God. God loved us enough to send His only begotten Son on our behalf (John 3:16). In light of this, our love for God should be of such a nature that we are willing to do whatever He requires of us.
However, we are not to end with a love for God. That love must spill over into our love for one another. John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love” (I John 4:7-8). Paul told the Corinthians, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). Our love must be exemplified, not just toward God, but one another as well.
Humility. Paul writes, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Phi. 2:3). It is disheartening to see members of the body of Christ who are more concerned with their own prestige and placement among the brethren than they are the work of the church. Paul emphasizes the need for all things to be done with “lowliness of mind.” The term “lowliness” is also translated “humility” (Thayer). James emphasized the useless nature of strife and vanity when he wrote, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (Jam. 3:14-16). If we do not have an attitude of humility in our service to God, it will destroy our influence and reputation. As James wrote later in the same letter, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (Jam. 4:6).
Deference. One of the biggest problems that arise in the church is that individuals feel things must be done their way; but if we are going to truly have one mind, we must be willing to consider, weigh, and at times defer to, the ideas of others. In matters of doctrine, there is only one opinion that matters: the opinion of God. He has told us what He would have us do and there is no room given for our input or “interpretation.”
However, in matters of opinion there is leniency given for us to use judgment and wisdom in making such decisions. It is unfortunate that some in the church are like Diotrephes. He “loved to have the preeminence” (3 John 9). With those like Diotrephes it is their way or the highway. But Paul wrote, “…let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phi. 2:3-4). There is to be enough care, concern, respect, love, and humility in us to both find out, and take heed to, the things of others. There must be an attitude of deference in matters of opinion.
We must always endeavor to have one mind; one common goal we are collectively pursuing. But if our pursuit is to be acceptable and profitable to all, it must include these attributes. Otherwise we have become nothing more than a number of people claiming to be trying to get to the same place by our own devices, and such an approach are truly folly.