Authored by Lou Geense
Read: Philippians 2:1-4
vs 3-4 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
I wonder how many times I read these verses and just let them pass? I do that because to study them and look closely at the message causes me some amount of struggle. In all honesty how often do we value others more than ourselves? I believe I am more in the habit of comparing people to me and then judging what they could do better to look at life the way I do! Maybe it is not just like that for you, but I believe most of us see ourselves in a positive light and we tend to evaluate others based on our own set of values.
Any quick read of Philippians show that Paul has a fairly high view of the Philippian church. But, like any church, it was not perfect. No church is. As we read along in Philippians, we see hints and whispers that Paul knows there are a few unhealthy things about this congregation. There are some cracks in their unity, some struggles with pride.
In Philippians 2, Paul begins to address this. And he is very straightforward. “If you are even remotely Christian,” Paul says, in effect, “then make me even more joyful by embracing humility.”
Many theologians teach that humility is the core Christian virtue, the characteristic that makes us most like Jesus. Humility helps us realize that even though we all have gifts and talents to do many things, that does not make us better than others. Instead, we try to see life as a level playing field on which each person does her or his part. And at the end of the day, we pay more attention to others than to ourselves. Let someone else compliment you for your work while you focus on building up others.
We are all a part of the body and we each play a part. Each of us needs to be thankful for the next person. This is, as Paul explains next (in verses 5-8), the pattern established by Jesus—so this is the pattern to follow.
Lord Jesus, grant us by your Holy Spirit a greater portion of your humility. Help us to serve hand in hand with those in my community for the sake of the gospel. In your name we pray. Amen.