Big Picture

Tough Topics

The Route to Success

– Reese Kauffman

Do you ever struggle with an attitude that is far from wonderful? We all do. Keeping in check our emotions, feelings, problems—all those elements that can add up to a bad attitude—is pretty difficult some days. God knows how hard it is, but He also knows how important it is for us to have a Christ-like attitude. In Philippians chapter two verse two we read that we need to be “like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”

Insight from Abroad

I am reminded of a trip to Japan I took years ago to tour some manufacturing facilities and learn about the Japanese approach to industry. When I entered one plant I was given a small white paper hat and a pair of white paper gloves. Now I had been in the manufacturing business in the USA for many years. I was accustomed to making sure guests wore hard hats, ear plugs and glasses to protect them from the harsh environment of the shop floor. Somewhat amused, I questioned the purpose of the flimsy white paper hat and gloves I received.

My host explained that having every worker and guest wear the gloves and hat symbolized the unity needed for the workforce to be productive. These symbols were to protect the group from the dangers of individual agendas or pressures that would harm the entire body of workers. In the plant I saw signs posted that declared “Oneness of Purpose, Oneness of Goal.” The Japanese were onto something important.

Not an Easy Road

If we are to be effective for the Kingdom of God, oneness of purpose and oneness of goal need to be part of our focus. As we move on through Philippians 2 we learn that having this type of unity demands sacrifice.

Verses 5-8 teach us that Jesus Christ was willing to give up all of His position, prestige and comfort in order to purchase salvation for those He loves. “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Remember, when it comes right down to it we are to be like Christ. He was not trying to hang on to His position in Heaven, but willingly, in extraordinary humility, He took on the very nature of a man.

The challenge to take on that kind of humility is before us: like-mindedness, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose, doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, considering others better than ourselves and looking not to our own interests but to the interests of others. It is a tall order but God’s Word is clear: if we have experienced the comfort, love and encouragement of having a relationship with Christ, seeking humility is something we must do. We all know how to put on our best behavior, but here God is telling us to do something far more difficult. He is telling us to change our hearts.

Worth It All

As with many of God’s commands, we learn that there is tremendous reward for obedience to this challenge. We are told in the following verses that we can become blameless and pure—children of God without fault in this crooked and depraved generation. We can shine before God like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of Life.

How could any true believer say, “It isn’t worth the effort”?

By following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ you and I can present a powerful witness to the world and gain tremendous reward from the hand of God the Father. That is a truly successful life.