Thinking the Same Thing, Having the Same Love
Phil 2:2 Make my joy full, that you think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking the one thing. 3:8 But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ.
The way the Philippians could make Paul’s joy full was to think the same thing, even the one thing (2:2). According to the context of the entire book, the one thing must refer to the subjective knowledge of Christ and experience of Christ (1:20-21; 2:5; 3:7-9; 4:13). Christ, and Christ alone, should be the centrality and universality of our entire being. Our thinking should be focused on the excellency of the knowledge of Christ and the experience of Christ. Anything else causes us to think differently and thus creates dissensions among us.
What troubled Paul in his imprisonment was the dissension among the Philippians. The saints in Philippi were good, and the church in that city had been well established. However, there was dissension among them. Although they were one in spirit, they were not striving together with one soul. Although they all loved the Lord, they were not thinking the same thing. This caused Paul’s heart to be heavy. Out of heaviness of heart, he appealed to the Philippians to make his joy full by being joined in soul and by thinking the same thing.
Thinking the same thing is related to having the same love. Paul’s word in verse 2 about “having the same love” indicates that, because of their dissenting thinking, the Philippian believers had different levels of love. They did not have the same love toward all the saints for the keeping of oneness.
It is possible that we in the church life today may not have the same love for all the saints. Instead, our love may be on different levels. We may love a certain brother much more than we love another brother. Because we may love a particular brother only to a small degree, we may not be inclined to render much service to him. But because we love another brother to a very high degree, we may serve him too much and even spoil him by our love. It is possible in the church life to have different levels of love for different saints. If this is our situation, our love is not the love with one soul. We have one kind of soul when we love one brother, but a different kind of soul when we love another brother. As a result, instead of practical oneness, there will be dissension.