We learn in our journey through Paul’s letter to the believers in Philippi that there was an undercurrent of selfishness which manifested itself in attitudes of vainglory and strife. To address that problem, Paul reminded them of the humility of Jesus Christ and how He, though God Incarnate, made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant. The message that Paul gave to the Philippians is a message that every person needs to hear.
Today, we discover that in spite of these problems, God is still working within this flock both to will and do of His good pleasure (verse 13). That is not to say that God is the author of strife and envy or vainglory. But it is a reminder of how God allows our human flaws and various manifestations of selfishness to bring us face to face with our ongoing need to hear the message of the cross and the example of the Christ’s humility.
Rather than murmur and complain about this brother or that sister, the Philippians needed to yield to Christ and confront these Spirit-quenching manifestations of the flesh in a God-glorifying way. Part of the way that you and I work out our salvation with fear and trembling is by dealing with relational issues within the body of Christ. Paul reminds this congregation, and us as well, that our call as Christians and the body of Christ is to shine for Jesus in the midst of a fallen and broken world that is twisted and corrupt (verse 15).
And the truth of the matter is that we cannot be shining for Christ in the world if our attitudes within the church are just as twisted and corrupt. The Spirit of God does not confront our sin to cause us to feel condemned and guilty. He exposes our unsanctified flesh in order that we might return to the cross and look unto Jesus, The Author and Finisher of our faith and allow His Spirit to reach out to one another in love and grace for the glory of God. Unity within the church does not require sinless perfection; it requires sincere surrender to Christ and one another.