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Friday, August 12, 2016

Make His Joy Complete

"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV).

Paul writes that we are to make Christ’s joy complete. What does the Holy Spirit reveal to me about these two verses this morning? Being complete is being fulfilled. Jesus wants to experience fulfillment in each of us. He wants to joy in us, and in our lives. How can I give Him fulfillment? How can I give Him joy? In these verses in Philippians I find an answer. If I have been encouraged by the Lord—if I have been comforted by His love—if I have shared with my brothers or sisters in His spirit—if I have had any tenderness and compassion, then I bring Him “complete” joy by having the same love and being unified in spirit and mind. Being unified in spirit and mind is not having the same opinion about everything. It is Christ's love that binds us. In spiritual unity we agree that God's Word is our standard and our purpose. We also agree that even in our differing personal opinions we find common ground in Him.

Unity is absolutely necessary for good spiritual health in the body of Christ. However, it is so hard to find, and then it can be so hard to keep. We are all so different. We come from different backgrounds. We are different ages. We have different likes and interests, ideas, and preferences. But it absolutely possible to be united without everyone being unanimous in a vote or in a decision. Being like-minded doesn't mean having the same opinion, but it does mean having the same attitude. We work together to accomplish His purpose. Having the same love and being one in spirit and purpose brings unity. Even if we aren't always one in our opinions, being one in Christ means we seek His will instead of our own. It means that we lay down any agenda, and seek to come together in His purpose.

I have a friend who creates mosaics. She uses different materials to create a work of art–colored glass, stones, broken ceramic and other things. The materials she uses are of all different sizes, colors, shapes, and of substances. From all these unique materials with different consistencies she creates a beautiful masterpiece. Just as she creates a beautiful unified work of art, Jesus Christ can take our unique differences and create something beautiful. Our unity can only come from being unified with Christ. As long as we regard Him as our anchor—as long as He is our purpose—as long as we realize that our treatment of each other is the way that we treat Christ—as long as we put Him and His love first before any of our own ideas or opinions, then we can discover this unity of spirit that brings us together in love. If we have the same unselfish attitude of Jesus (Philippians 2:5)—one that gave His life for us—then we can make His joy in us complete.

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