“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” -Philippians 2:1,2
What does ‘being like minded’ mean? I’m a science fiction geek I freely admit it! And I recall the old Star Trek Next Generation when the Enterprise faced off a number of times with the terrifying aliens called the ‘Borg’. The thing that stood them apart and made them so dangerous was that they were of one mind. They were all connected to the ‘collective’ and they would absorb and assimilate other cultures and worlds, thereby gaining knowledge and understanding. The Borg were terrifying and yet effective because of the ‘like-minded collective.
But truly, science fiction aside, what does being like-minded mean? Are we to be God’s “collective” here on Earth? Not for any evil purpose mind you, but for His Holy purpose? What does being like-minded mean? Especially when we see so many church splits, divisions and varying thoughts of ideology. How is it that what began as one body of believers coming together to worship, testify and make other disciples has ended up being many bodies and many sets of worship practices? Is this what Christ had in mind? If I were to take it a step further, if this wasn’t what Christ had in mind then did He make a mistake?
The answer to both of those questions is ‘NO’! His prayer ‘that they may all be one” (John 17:21) is still a prayer for us today. The problem with this earthly body of believers is that we have free will. When it comes to deciding and making our choices in worship and practice, we fall short of attaining this unity. Let’s be honest, church has in the past, present and most probably the future been run by those within the spectrum of human authority. Sure God has been present within churches, but not all decisions made by man have been God led or God honoring. It is safe to say that politics is alive and well within the Church. Both on the large and small scare this is true. From leadership selection to the color of the carpet in a chapel there is politics involved. I think Paul had experienced politics that was of selfish intent through various towns and cities when he went on to say in this same passage, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” -Philippians 2:3-4
Unfortunately the down side is that some, not all, leaders are bent to self and selfish motivations. It’s the nature of humanity that is not fully surrendered which becomes evident through the choices of man sugar coating it to be what God has intended. But I am confident that God can take that which man has marred, that which man has broken, that which man has truly messed up and turn it into something remarkable.
It’s not that I willingly place my faith and trust in leaders who lead this way, but rather in my submission to the Father in Heaven. So that when I say “Thy will be done” I really mean it even if I am subjugated to a system or to leaders who are fallible and often make decisions based politically rather than biblically.
Paul implores us all to serve selflessly rather than selfishly. When we can actually practice selflessness in word and in deed then being like-minded can actually occur within God’s body here on earth.
I too struggle with this in my life. There have been times when I have made decisions based on how it will impact me rather than others. Sometimes that full surrender isn’t made complete in me. It’s a daily thing that must take place, in which we force our selfishness back in the box, we kneel before the Father and give Him the box again and we allow His love to shine through us instead of the light of selfish intentions and moral failings.
I want to be a transformer in my world how about you? I want to be like-minded with others who are in the truth but this can’t be done if I’m looking out for me, myself and I. If we are to function and thrive as His ambassadors we have to stop playing church politics and the selfishness game and instead face the mission of Christ that He beckons us to.