In this episode, we conclude our series on The Book of Philippians with a discussion on the power of perspective. The way we choose to see things fuels how we act and what we think. Christians are all fighting the same battles. Similar to Paul’s companions, we are called to be of the same mind for the Lord. We are called to be fair-minded, open-hearted, trustworthy and good to others. The Book of Philippians invites us to continually adopt the mindset of Christ and follow as it leads to a life of action and meaning.
Tim: But he says, “Nevertheless, you’ve done well, that you shared in my distress. In fact, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving, but you only when I departed from Macedonia. Even in Thessalonica, you said, not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.” Now that’s totally consistent with the mindset, he said you want to have, right? I want you to have great rewards and treasures in heaven. And when you support my work, as Jesus said, quoting the Old Testament, “if you support a prophet, you get the reward of a prophet.” Okay? You’re supporting my work, you’re going to get my reward, and that makes me really happy because I want to share my reward with my people. And he says, “Indeed, I have all and abound, I’m full having received the things sent from you.” When I found out you’re doing well, that was really the main thing I wanted to hear. The money’s great, but when you’re doing well, that’s what really makes me happy. And then he says, “And my God will supply all your need according to his riches and glory.” So, I mainly focus on the spiritual need. I’ve got the same God, we’ve got the same God, and he’s going to supply your needs too. Which means whatever we have, that’s what we need. Well, again, it goes back to this mindset. He’s actually illustrating the mindset all the way through. Maybe one last thing, he talks about citizenship in heaven, like “I’m angling for this end goal. I mainly focus on the citizenship there.” And he talks about “attaining to the resurrection of the dead.” And this is kind of a confusing passage because the resurrection of the dead happens to everybody. And it’s built-in when you get born again. You’re promised resurrection, so why is it something you attain to? It’s kind of confusing. But the word “resurrection” here is the Greek word for resurrection, “anástasis.” And this has an “éx” in front of it, it’s “out.” So it probably should be translated to the “out-resurrection.” So I think that here he’s talking about some kind of resurrection reward. A resurrection to something that’s like what Jesus went through, in terms of the reward, and because he’s talking about attaining. And he says, “Not that I’ve already attained or I’m already completed.” That’s usually translated to “perfected.” That’s the idea that your faith is actually fully mature. He says, “I’m not fully mature. I’m still working every day. That’s why I told you to work out your salvation from the flesh in the world, to what God has called us to in the kingdom of God every day. Well, I’m working on it too. But I press on that I might lay hold for that which Christ Jesus has laid for me.” So he’s got this reward. Jesus has a reward for me if I can make it faithfully to the end. And that’s what I’m serving for. So that’s pretty clear and that’s why I think this éx anástasis, this out-resurrection, is talking about the reward because, in the context, it seems pretty clear. He’s reaching for something and you don’t strive to be born again, you just receive that. What you do strive for is to be delivered from the power of sin every day, both to avoid destruction and to gain peace, and all these things. He says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Contentment and peace, that’s great things, right? But then there’s this double, triple, quadruple, you know, million-fold treasure at the end. And that seems to be what mainly drives him. And that’s the same mindset Jesus had. I can get something amazing at the end for doing this seemingly terrible thing now.
A Same Team Mindset
Joey: If you think about it, with all we’ve said, it’s a pretty incredible opportunity. Choosing this mindset, this phroneo, can help you continue on the path of your best interest today. It can help you to be more like Christ. It can help you to be in harmony with your spiritual community. And it can help you set up these rewards. It’s an amazingly powerful opportunity we have every single day.
T: It’s incredible and it has this huge double benefit. Now, it’s interesting in 4:2, which ends with, “I implore you, Euodia and Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord.” So this is mindset again. So apparently, Epaphroditus came to visit him in prison and probably brought the money and brought the report, and Paul is asking about everybody. And obviously, it’s a pretty small group. He seems to know everybody. The churches and houses and stuff. This is early in Christianity. He probably said, “Well, you know, Syntyche and Euodia are out warring with each other again. And they’ve got this dispute going on.” He actually puts it in the letter here. So these ladies are memorialized as being brawlers. I bet you that they did follow this or God wouldn’t have put their names there.
J: Well in the verse right after, Paul acknowledges that they’ve contended at his side and the cause of the gospel. So maybe it’s unfair to think that they’re just eternally at war with one another.
T: Yeah. So he says, “help these women who labored with me in the gospel. I mean, these are women with good hearts, “help them see the right mindset, that they’re on the same team.” You guys say that all the time, right? That would be worth bringing up. Actually, you use this basic approach to your conflict in your marriage. Why don’t you talk about that for a second? That’s exactly what this is talking about.
J: Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve necessarily thought of it directly this way, but choosing a mindset within our communication is kind of the key to our communication. Right? And I think we’ve witnessed a lot of couples or heard stories or just heard the mindset, even when you’re getting married, of this idea that we’re two entities that are combating for a win. So I remember when we were engaged, I got this advice of “Let her have her way all the time–
Kylie: He doesn’t do that.
J: –Just make sure of what makes her happy and do that. She’s right all the time. Just don’t argue.” Like that’s the key to a happy marriage. And it’s just like, “oh, gosh!” It’s setting up this idea that we’ve got to come to some loser.
K: Yeah, that there’s a winner and a loser.
J: Most of life is an uneasy truce, and when there is a battle, there’s got to be a winner. But we’ve adopted the mindset that we’re in this thing together. We’re partners. And the real enemy isn’t the other person, it’s falsity. We do this actively when our emotions get high, when we’re in the place of these two women that we just mentioned, where we’re at odds with one another. We’ll slow each other down. We have some triggers where we’ll say, “hey, we’re getting heated, but remember, we’re on the same team. We’re together.” We were watching this thing a couple of years ago, one of those match game ideas. Where you have two couples and you write an answer on a whiteboard to hold it up, and see if they match. And so the couple’s question was, who won your last argument? And they wrote down their answers. And when they held it up, both of them said “me”, which is funny because it’s kind of like the same answer, but it’s also kind of different. And Kylie and I laughed because we’re like, “we actually would have the same answer, too. What do you think we would say?” And we’d kind of said it at the same time and maybe wrote it down.
K: Yeah, “we would.”
J: Yeah. The answer we would put is “we would.” You know, we win the arguments. It’s not one of us. It’s us that are winning it. And when we adopted that mindset, it changed the way we communicate.
K: Yeah. And it’s also like an internal reminder, especially for me, who tends to be more competitive in regards to arguments and conflict. But it’s also a communal reminder. So it’s not just about me reminding myself that we’re on the same team, it’s about us remembering together that we’re on the same team and we’re working towards the same goal.
Unity for Christ
T: So I would say you’re literally applying Philippians 4:2, to be of the same mind, Phroneo, in the Lord. We’re on the same team trying to get oneness because that is what God has told us is in our best interest and what makes Him happy.
J: Yeah. Well, having the same love is squeezed in there, too. So that definitely applies to us and to our marriage.
T: And then, the next admonition is “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice.” It sort of sounds like you work that in, too. To say, “I’m slowing down my emotions. I’m not going to be a slave to my feelings, my appetites, my belly. I’m not going to be shameful and go the belly way. I’m going to slow down.” And you’re actually saying I’m going to choose, rejoice in the Lord is not a “be happy thing”, it’s a choice you’re making. This is another mindset thing. I’m going to choose my happiness in following that God’s way is the best, and part of that is we’re on the same team.
J: Yeah. And I think, especially when you’re here and your emotions are high like I said before, you have this feeling of “I’ve got to justify and reinforce that emotion. And I’ve got to win out.” But I think you’re right. For us to be able to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that we have a choice about the perspective we have towards one another, towards our own emotions and towards Christ, it opens up this amazing possibility of “okay, we can actually continue to have this conversation, we can continue to have things matter to us intensely. But we have a different perspective and it changes everything.”
K: Well, and what’s interesting, too, is if I win and he loses, we actually both lose. Because we’re suddenly disunified and we’ve lost this connection and this love and this pursuit of a common goal together. And I am sitting here excited because I’ve won the argument, but I’ve lost the unity that comes when we choose one another over ourselves.
T: Congratulations. You’re alone.
K: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And really, like it’s satisfying for what? A second? And then it’s like, “Oh, gosh, we actually need to work together again to reestablish what we had that we’ve lost. Because I was trying to, you know, satisfy my belly.”
T: Then, verse 5 says, “Let your gentleness be known to all men.” I dug into this word a little bit because I don’t know what that means, actually. And in our society, it would mean to just lay down and lose. And the Bible never asked you to do that. So I know that’s not what it means. But from what best I can sense, and I think it fits in this context, is to be fair-minded. Which is another mindset thing. Be willing to look at things from the other person’s perspective, which I know from talking to you guys in the past, that’s a big part of what you try to do. “Let’s get on the same mindset.” And that requires us to listen to each other’s mindset and find a meld.
What is Winning?
K: But also it requires dying to self, too. Because I want to win. Like I want to win. And it takes me recognizing that the more beneficial thing is for me to let go of that and choose us.
T: And is it fair to say that you have to redefine winning?
K: Yeah, absolutely.
T: Yeah, I wanted to win for self over other, which is the strong exploiting the weak. And instead, what I want to do is love this other person and get on the same mindset, which is me serving the other person. And we know deeper down, unity is much more satisfying than fractiousness, but not in the moment. In themoment, your appetite, your belly wants to say, “I just want to subjugate this other person.”
J: Yeah, I mean, it’s hard. You’re right, it’s a paradox. The thinking like slowing myself down to say, “All right, I’m feeling all this. I’m thinking all this. What is she thinking? How is she approaching this? What is her perspective on that?” That just laying down of your life just long enough to give that other person some due and listen unlocks all of this in a lot of ways. That’s the first step.
T: You know, there are some famous verses that follow right onto this conversation that are worth folding into your argumentation and how choosing this mindset creates unity and not choosing it creates fractiousness, which is a great example of flesh and spirit. That is in Galatians 5. He actually says that “If you choose the flesh, you get biting and devouring. If you choose the spirit, you get unity and harmony.” And he says, “Be anxious for nothing.” So don’t worry. Don’t try to control your circumstances. Instead, pray. So this actually allows you to reconcile with your circumstances and be thankful for them. You know, whatever my circumstances are, I can make those three choices in those circumstances. And then he says, finally, “Think about what’s true, what’s noble, what’s just, what’s pure, what’s lovely, what’s of good report, virtuous, praiseworthy. Meditate on these things.” So, again, that is setting your mind to have a plumb bob, a standard, a measure of what you want to aspire to be what’s real and true, not what the world says. And that’s all integral. You can’t actually apply the “we’re on the same team thing” unless you have a standard of what’s real and what’s true that you can apply.
J: Yeah, all of this makes me think of the alignment in your car or something. If it’s slightly off, you’ve got to grip the wheel. You’ve got to feel it hard. And I think a lot of people have that for now, that worldly mindset. It’s biting and devouring, it’s difficult. You always feel like you’re on trial. You always feel threatened. You’re always white-knuckled. But if you can just choose a better perspective, a more true, accurate perspective, it’s like setting the alignment in your car. And it’s just better. You know, you still have to pay attention. It’s still work. You still have to drive the vehicle. But it’s just better. It sets a foundation that really transforms everything about the way you live.
K: Yeah. Well, and it is one of the like integral pieces that you need in order to do that is trust. I trust that he has my best interest at heart. I trust that he has our best interests at heart and vice versa. And if we didn’t have that trust with one another, none of it would work. And the same thing is true of God. We have to trust that He has our best interest at heart. And when we do that, we are much more willing to lay ourselves down because we understand and trust that he is going to bring good from it.
T: That certainly makes it easier, although we’re actually asked to unilaterally do that for Christ. When we trust one another, it makes it a lot easier. But we’re actually asked to do this irrespective of the other person and look through them to Christ, which is a real challenge. But I think the point I would take from what you just said is why make it hard on people? If you’re trustworthy, you actually build unity that has a tremendous core of strength.