I had a thought today as I was thinking about the book of Philippians – not going to say it is absolute but given that the book is about how to maintian unity in the body in the midst of hardship, suffering and persecution – I have a thought about what I want to call the three “hinges” of Philippians. Like many doors have three hinges to hold them up – I think Philippians has three hinges that help us understand what is needed to have unity in the body despite hardships.
They are: Humility, Obedience, and Service.
Like a door needs all three “hinges” to function well, so too, all three “hinges” highlighted in the book of Philippians are needed to maintain unity (the door) in the body of Christ – if any of the hinges are missing, it’s not going to work right, no matter how hard we try to make it work.
We see these three hinges worked out primarily in the life of Christ, or what is called the Christ hymn. In this hymn we see Jesus model life for us as a humble, obedient, servant. This life is modeled as one he wants us to follow.
Without humilty we find ourselves too proud and doing too much “posturing” as Gordon Fee likes to call it – too much trying to put ourselves ahead of others or using them to our advantage. Without humility we also tend find ourselves skirting hardship and grumbling when it happens. This is not what God has called us to.
Instead, God has called us humble ourselves and become obedient (a willing submissivness) to the cause of the gospel and to his calling to be unified with one another, for the sake of the gospel. This is accomplished primairly through being servants of one another and servants to the cause of the gospel in whatever context we live in.
It is only when each one of us individually and as congregations of faith learn to live in humility, obedience and service , will true unity in the body of Christ be acheived.
So, as the Bible exhorts us to spur one another on toward love and good deeds, let us learn to walk in humility, obedience and service, that we might be unified as a body, for God’s glory, for the sake of the gospel.