“If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:1-5).
Of all the one another admonitions found in the New Testament, this one might be the toughest. It will positively be the toughest one if we have not embraced the wonder of what Christ has done for us, for He regarded our needs above His own comfort and convenience. And if we have been born again by the grace of God given through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, we are called to deal with one another as Christ has dealt with us.
For me, the foundational one another admonitions are love one another and forgive one another. Both of these have qualifiers attached to them. In regards to loving one another, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). In regards to forgiving one another, Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.“
Did you hear the qualifiers? “…even as I have loved you” and “…just as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
In my book, The One Another Project, I state something that was said to me many years ago by an old saint in the Lord, he said, “One’s love for God cannot exceed the love that one has for the one they love the least.”
The bottom line is this, Jesus is not only our Savior, He is also our role model. By the power of the Spirit we too have the capacity to regard one another as more important than ourselves. Can you imagine a church where individuals are truly putting aside selfish interests and agendas and ambitions with a goal of laying down their lives in love for their brothers and sisters in Christ? Believe it or not, we have been given that capacity through the Blood of the Lamb, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the sanctifying truths of God’s Holy Word.
Where does it begin? It begins in the heart of each individual believer and then from there becomes a life-giving source to Christ’s church.