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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Ode to Joy … being like-minded

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Philippians 2:1-2

Thou the Father, Christ our Brother,—
all who live in love are Thine:
Teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the Joy Divine.
—Henry Van Dyke, Hymn to Joy, 1907

Always, gently percolating under the surface, is the source of Paul’s joy—the Lord! Until the Philippians thoroughly grasp the concept of joy, his joy will not be complete.
He begins by reminding them of their position in Christ. Being united with Christ is no small thing. It is a fixed position which cannot be taken away from you. Think about it, you actually bask in His love. You can call on the Holy Spirit at any time. Tenderness and compassion are part of your makeup, fruit easily ripened by the Spirit.

So, be like-minded. With whom? With Paul. But on a grander scale, with Christ. They, you, me, Paul, we all actually have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Pretty cool. Not only would Paul’s joy become complete, but joy becomes more complete in you as you seek like-mindedness with Jesus.

What exactly was on Paul’s mind? First, it seemed to him that joy increased as love increased. Jesus’ love is the basis for your joy. Give it away so others will see Jesus: And this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well…making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11 MSG).

Next Paul said that having the same spirit as Jesus would showcase joy: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). Humility and obedience were key attributes of Jesus’ humanity. If we are obediently humble, looking to the interests of others instead of to our own (2:4), others will see the joy of Jesus.

Finally, your joy rests in the hope of the single-minded divine purpose of the Almighty: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (2:10-11). Lord, what Joy Divine!

Nancy P

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