If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: 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 implication of the word 'If ' conjures a responsive answer, which is obviously 'yes'. Of course, we have been blessed by our experience mounting from being in Jesus-following Him, changed by his love, being in His community, welling in care and compassion. What Paul wants us to conjure up here is the emphatic answer-'Yes, this is all true for me'.
Because this is true, Paul states 'do me a favor', show the picture of unity out of your 'gotten anything out of...Christ '. Truly changed people of God really practice unity-' Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends'.
We normally stop here in our reading because we get compelled with the picture of unity that is being mentioned here. Changed people of God must also show change in their communal living. This is beautiful and this is what is supposed to be, Christians should practice unity. But what is the thing that actually is the enemy of unity in the Body of Christ?
This is where we must read on, Paul tells us:
'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.'
For unity to be living in the body of Christ, the individual's self interest must be buried. Unity is something that gets destroyed when people are not humble, when people are thinking of themselves and of how they can be elevated, how they can make a name from themselves. Please understand that Paul did not state here that only certain members are to check themselves here, like leaders to members or the other way round. The text says nothing about submission. It talks about unity and that thing that causes disunity- self interests of individuals. Paul calls us to check on ourselves-all of us, not just certain individuals but all of us.
Who better to tutor us on how doing away with self interest looks like then Jesus. I will let the passage itself comment itself because now it can be clear in telling us-if we want to maintain unity we have to remove self motivated interests and be selfless. This is what humility looks like.
5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.Let us check ourselves whether we have simply let our self interests destroy the unity of His Body. That means every one, not just leaders but everyone.