Diplomats and business people know they should negotiate from a position of strength. The stronger your position, the more you can demand, and the less the other side can diminish from those demands. So they sit at negotiating tables and in high-profile forums with their smooth words and hard tactics.
Christians have nothing to negotiate, obviously. They have no means of bargaining with God. They seek nothing from others either.
The position of strength, however, so well known in the world, is the Christian’s advantage for service and unity.
When dealing with a spouse, for example, one works from a position of strength, not need. So instead of pleading for attention or help, one can offer both. When working beside other saints in the body of Christ, we don’t seek to receive from others, but to give from the fullness of God.
The New Century Version provides a good commentary on Philippians 2:1-4, where Paul makes this very point:
Does your life in Christ give you strength? Does his love comfort you? Do we share together in the spirit? Do you have mercy and kindness? If so, make me very happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and having one mind and purpose. When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.
What we have determines what we are able to do. So what can do we when we take into account the position of strength we have in Christ?
We can be one with our fellow saints (v. 2). We can squelch selfishness and pride (v. 3). We can feed humility (v. 3). We can honor others by considering them superior to ourselves (v. 3). We can put their interests and needs before our own (v. 4).
The world’s strong people are takers. They demand based on their ability to twist arms, be it on a personal, corporate, or national scale. God’s people, however, are givers. From their position of strength, they are free to serve, unite, support, and honor others.
They are even free to wash somebody’s stinking feet, when need be, just like their Master (Philippians (2.5-11).
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