USE YOUR THINKERS!
This letter is credited to Paul, with Timothy possibly contributing as co-author or as an amanuensis (originated in ancient Rome meaning, a slave that is at arm's length to perform the immediate command of his master). In which the connection can be seen with Paul labeling himself and Timothy as slaves of Christ in his opening remark. (Chapter 1 vs 1)
The epistle exhort them to continue in harmony in heart, mind, and purpose (VS 2) by the one (Holy) Spirit that unifies them. (VS. 1). Doing such would eliminate many of the divisive issues that is causing much of the discord. Selfishness is at the heart of the problem. Paul goes on to encourage the Christians of Philippi to take the path of humility...not to be consumed with themselves (as it will breed pride), but to take genuine interest in the lives and needs of others..
Paul attempts to refresh their memory by using the greatest example, that of our Lord who is the culmination of humility. Though He is God (VS 6) He humbled Himself to become human to the point of a criminal's death (VS 8).
Obedience to God is innate for those who are born of the Spirit. (VS 13), but one must take a proactive role in nurturing such an inward quality.
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of
water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of
the Spirit is spirit."
Paul gives some suggestions; stay away from the slightest things that may displease God (VS 12)...so if saying or doing something is questionable, You should play it safe and avoid it. You do not want your behavior to be a stumbling block for the next person. (VS 15)
We are called to godly living....there should be a very distinctive difference which marks us as belonging to God...without such how can they see the Light? (VS.15&16) Our lives should not be patterned after the social norms of the world.