By Steven Chan
1. Whilst there’s consolation from being in Christ, comfort from the practice of love among brethren, and sharing in common by walking in the Spirit, as well as having affection and tender mercies towards one another, the apostle Paul urged that brethren ought also to be “like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Phil 2:1-2)
2. Unity among brethren is to be characterized by having the “same mind” (1 Cor 1:10). In other words, not being divided in our minds as regard our relationship with God and our relationship with one another. The importance of having such unity as characterized by our relationship with God and fellow brethren is emphasized in 1 John 1:7: “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Being of one mind and having fellowship with one another comes from all of us “walking in the light as He is in the light”.
When any of us persists in going astray from the path of God, then he is “walking disorderly” (2 Thess 3:6) and we are exhorted to “withdraw from such ones”. Those who seek to go their own ways instead of walking the “strait and narrow” way, would be acting in a factious or divisive manner; from such we are to avoid (Titus 3:10-11).
Of course, the Bible allows for differences of opinions/preferences in matters which are neither commanded nor forbidden by God. But even in the exercise of such matters, due consideration must be given to whether it is expedient or whether it could stumble the faith of others (I Cor 10:23; Rom 14:21).
3. Unity among brethren is also to be characterized by having the same love for God and for one another, as well as the same standard of love as set by Jesus Christ in John 13:34-35.
Love is to be defined by God and not by individuals. According to Jesus, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (1 John 14:15). Paul explained love as follows: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13:4-7)
4. Unity is to be characterized by being of one accord. This means “being of one soul” or being in agreement with each other as regards doing the will of God. So, we serve each other in love (Gal 5:13) and use our abilities for mutual benefits for God’s glory (1 Pet 4:10-11). So, we “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15). We have the same care for one another (1 Cor 12:25). When we as a church or body of Christ agrees to do certain things then all members must be of “one accord” to support those activities so that the work will be successful and God will be glorified – for we are members of the same body (Rom 12:5).
5. Unity is to be characterized by “one mind” – that of the mind of Christ – “which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:5-8).
Humility of mind would ensure that we behave as obedient servants of God and that none is puffed up against another (1 Cor 4:6). When we seek to obey and please God we would not seek “self-glory” – trying to show we are smarter or wiser than others whether by our words or deeds (Rom 12:3,16): “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” (Luke 17:10).When we all seek to please God doing nothing from “selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself”, then we will be of one mind (Phil 2:3).
Brethren, let us endeavor to be “like-minded” so that we can all be united in love and humility and work together for God’s glory. Perhaps we should examine ourselves and ask to what extent are we of one mind with fellow brethren in the body of Christ? And, then seek to become “like-minded” in full submission to the will of God.