NEGATIVE THINGS IN PHILIPPIANS
Compared with those in Galatians and Ephesians, the negative things in Philippians are small matters. Instead of such things as the religious world, ordinances, the vanity of the mind, and Satan, we have murmurings, reasonings, rivalry, vainglory, and anxiety.
Certain ones, especially the Judaizers, were in rivalry with Paul. They were those who announced Christ "out of rivalry, not purely" (1:17). There is also rivalry among Christians today. Recently I heard that a certain Christian friend of mine, whom I have known for more than twenty years, said, "Witness Lee’s ministry is spreading throughout the earth. We must stop him!" Such a statement comes out of rivalry.
Rivalry gives rise to persecution, and persecution causes affliction. According to Paul’s word in 1:17, those who announce Christ out of rivalry thought "to raise up affliction in my bonds." Their intention was to increase Paul’s afflictions. Nevertheless, even though Paul was suffering, he was not defeated by his afflictions. He could say, "According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, even now Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death" (1:20).
In 2:3 Paul exhorts the saints to do "nothing by way of rivalry nor by way of vainglory, but in lowliness of mind counting one another more excellent than yourselves." Do not think that in the church today there is no rivalry for vainglory. When a brother hears a certain person ministering the Word in a rich way, he may say to himself, "Wait for a few years, and I will surprise you with my rich speaking. My speaking will be much better than this." This is an example of the rivalry for vainglory which may be hidden within you.
In 2:4 Paul goes on to say, "Not regarding each his own things, but each the things of others also." The things here denote virtues and qualities. We should not regard only our own virtues and qualities, but those of others also. Instead of thinking so much about our own virtues, qualities, abilities, and attainments, we should regard the things of others. In keeping with Paul’s word, we should even count others more excellent than ourselves. As we consider others in the church, we should think of them as better than ourselves.
Murmurings and Reasonings
In 2:14 Paul says, "Do all things without murmurings and reasonings." Elsewhere I have pointed out that murmurings, which are of the emotion, are found mostly among the sisters, whereas reasonings, which are of the mind, are found mostly among the brothers. However, I sometimes have problems with both murmurings and reasonings. I may murmur inwardly over the small portion of food my wife may serve me at dinner, especially when I compare my portion with that of others. I also may reason inwardly when my wife points out that a certain food is good for me and that I need to eat it. Do you not also have problems with the "bugs" of murmurings and reasonings? We all are bothered by these things.
(The Secret of Experiencing Christ, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)