To be humble, you need to stop thinking about yourself all the time. That’s what it means. You need to stop comparing yourself with your boss, the secretary who sits next to you, the other Sunday school teacher, or whoever it is who rubs you the wrong way. Instead, you need to think of what you can do to help that person, just as the Lord Jesus Christ did.
Now this humility will never occur apart from a personal and intimate walk with God, for in ourselves we do not like humility and can’t achieve it without Him. If you’re far from the Lord, then frictions will inevitably spring up between you and other Christians. The things they say will irk you. The things they do will get under your skin and fester. If you do not want this to happen, then you must maintain a close and personal fellowship with the Lord.
You see, to put it quite simply, Paul wanted his admonition to the women at Philippi to come down to the personal level. Because he knew, as we all should know, that the effectiveness of the Christian warfare depends upon the conduct of the individual Christian soldier. As the Church impinges upon the world, it is a little like a triangle. It has a broad base composed of many believers and many doctrines. But the impact point is the apex, and the apex is the individual Christian. The individual is what the world sees. The individual is the one who either promotes or hinders harmony. And who is the individual? It’s you and I. And so if there is to be Christian unity, you and I must maintain our walk with the Lord.
Now second, Paul said that Christian unity is something we must work at. He calls attention to this step toward unity by referring to his fellow workers at Philippi and to the one who was a “true yokefellow” in that ministry. It is not enough, he implied, for Christians merely to think about unity. They must work for it and, above all, they must work together.
Another way of saying the same thing is by saying that listening to this message will not be enough. Positive thinking is not enough. If you are to get along with another Christian with whom you have difficulty, you must roll up your sleeves and work together with him for some end. The problem that he’s facing is a good place to start, whatever it may be. Does he have a dirty garage? Clean his garage with him. Help her with her shopping. And then, when you run out of those things, go visit a person who is sick, teach a class, start a home Bible study. But whatever you do, do it together. That is what Paul is saying.
Paul was looking back to the glorious days that he’d spent in Philippi among the Christians. He was thinking of the great joy he had known as he had worked with them for spiritual ends. Now he says that unity is being threatened. So keep on. Do not let your unity be ruined by friction between your members. Work together. And make sure your unity can be seen in your actions.