The Submissive Mind - Cont'd.
We have seen we can allow circumstances to be a stealer of joy. Hopefully
though, we have learned that it is through a focus on Christ, and the life
that He has called us live, that we can experience the joy He desires for
us and rise above circumstances. As we examine them in the light of His love
- and our trust in Him - we will find our joy will not be as frequently stolen
So weve taken care of circumstances, but what of people? "I love
mankind," says a famous comic strip character. "Its people I cant
stand!" 1 And certainly people can be stealers of joy.
But just as with circumstances, the real issue isnt the circumstances
or the people; rather, it is our response to them, which allows our joy to
In Chapter two, we will see how Paul deals with people as joy stealers. Here
too, the bottom line is our relationship to Christ. We have the greatest
model of all to help us understand how we are to live. Christ provides the
model. It is as we look at Him for an example, and at others through Him,
that we will find we will be less affected by the actions of others.
The Submissive Mind Chapter 2 (Key Verse2:3)
The example of Christ Chapter 2:1-11
Verses 1-2: Paul starts this section by reminding the Philippians
what they have. He gives a short list of the blessings that come with being
a believer. All are stated as "if" clauses (with the verb understood), but
the condition is assumed to be true."2 The blessings are first,
being united with Christ. Think about it: We are united with God. What can
be greater for the creature than being united with the Creator? But with
this relationship comes responsibility. This responsibility is to obey Christ
and the teachings of the Apostles.
"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live
a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and
gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to
keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Ephesians
Second, Christs love was the source of the Philippians comfort and
encouragement. Oh, that we might truly receive that comfort. And it is this
comfort and encouragement that should lead to the response of the unity of
Finally, these believers had unity through fellowship with the Spirit. We
are one in the spirit. "For we were all baptized by one
Spirit into one bodywhether Jews or Greeks, slave or freeand
we were all given the one Spirit to drink" (1 Corinthians 12:13).
The Philippians had fellowship with the Holy Spirit. As a result, they had
the opportunity for practical unity. So the very presence of God dwells within
us. How can anything or anyone cause us to stumble or to lose our joy, if
we allow Him to live through us?
Last, the Philippians, as a result of these blessings, were able to experience
the tenderness and compassion of God. This also would reinforce their unity
which came from being part of the body of Christ. And as they did, as we
experience all these things, our focus shifts from ourselves and to God.
As a result of this focus, we will develop humility, which will help us deal
with people as joy stealers. Therefore, we will be able to experience His
joy as we deal with others.