OUR NEED FOR THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
The longer we are in the Lord’s recovery, the more we shall learn and the more experiences we shall accumulate. When many of us saw the light regarding the Lord’s recovery, we dropped everything of the past and came together to practice the church life. Everything was splendid and wonderful, and we enjoyed a church life honeymoon. After a certain period of time, however, we learned more and accumulated more experiences. Then, out of our learning and experiences, new inventions came forth. Many of us have invented better ways to do things. This causes us to think differently, for every new invention is a different way of thinking. Therefore, because we have a problem in our soul, we need the book of Philippians.
When we came into the church life, we did not have very many opinions. But after staying in the church life for a while, we came to have many opinions. This is not healthy. The remedy for this illness is firstly to take care of the request of the Apostle Paul, who begged that his joy might be made full. To fulfill the joy of the Lord’s servant, we need to think the same thing, have the same love, and be together in the soul. Furthermore, we should do nothing through rivalry. When we hold to our various opinions, rivalry is unavoidable. Rivalry comes from the desire to have the preeminence, to be number one. Instead of seeking preeminence for ourselves, we should give it to others. Furthermore, when we are in our opinions, we seek vainglory. Among the Philippians, there was a form of competition. This discord was due to their opinions. What came out of their opinions was rivalry and the seeking of vainglory.
Paul told the Philippians that each man should look not on his own qualities, but also on the qualities of others. Paul was telling them not only to take care of him, but also to take care of the other saints. Then he told them to think that which was also in Christ Jesus. What He thinks we also need to think. Our thinking should be His thinking. This means that in all things we need to be one with Christ. If we cannot be one with Christ in competing with others, we must stop competing with them.
CHRIST AS THE EXAMPLE
Paul goes on to point out Christ as the example. Christ was in the form of God and actually was God Himself. Because He had such a standing, it was not robbery for Him to be equal with God. I believe that as Paul was writing this, deep within he had the feeling that some of the Philippian saints were committing robbery. For example, suppose I do not have the ability to be a leader; nevertheless, I desire to be a leader. In this matter, I rob others of their leadership. Christ, however, did not commit robbery in being equal with God. Although it was not robbery for Christ to be equal with God, He emptied Himself, not insisting on this equality. Furthermore, He humbled Himself, becoming in the likeness of man and taking the form of a slave. This means that Christ gave up His high standing and took not only the form of a man, but the form of a slave. This is an example and pattern for us.
The only way we can follow Christ’s example is by the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The divine Spirit within us today is the very Spirit of Jesus. When we do things out of rivalry or when we compete with other saints, the Spirit of Jesus is not expressed. But when we take care of the request of the Apostle Paul and look on the qualifications of others, we enjoy the supply of the Spirit of Jesus. By doing this, we spontaneously drop our opinions and are together in one soul.
Many Christian teachers have encouraged others to imitate the pattern revealed in Philippians 2. But it is impossible for us to imitate Christ. For example, we can never be like a lamb. In order to be like a lamb, we need to have the life of a lamb. Likewise, it is impossible for us to imitate the Lord Jesus. The standard of His humility is too high for us. Hallelujah, the Spirit of Jesus is in us! By the Spirit of Jesus we can be just as humble as He was. By the Spirit of Jesus we can fulfill the request of the Apostle Paul and care for all the other saints. By the Spirit of Jesus we can drop all our opinions and be one in spirit and in soul. By the Spirit of Jesus we all can think the one thing and have the same love. This is the testimony of Jesus, the oneness, and the building. This is the practical church, the church lived out of our inner being. This is the Lord’s recovery. For this, we need to be one in soul.
If we were one in soul, we would have the genuine enjoyment of Christ. But if there is rivalry and the seeking of vainglory among us, we shall not have any enjoyment of the Lord. Instead, there will be sickness, dryness, and desolation. The Spirit of Jesus, of course, does not want this. In order for us in the church life to experience Christ as our enjoyment, we need to drop our opinions, have one soul, think the same thing, and have the same love.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)