Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
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.
We have read and discussed this passage before. It ties well to the theme that we have been studying this past week; and it challenges us to view the command to love one another through the lens of humility. To be humble in our interpersonal actions with others is another way we emulate and facilitate the love of God. Again, we have Jesus as our role model. And it is actually His example that Paul will reference as the spiritual standard for humility. He urges us to have the same attitude (mindset) as Christ Jesus. Here is the larger context for us to consider:
Philippians 2:1-8 (NIV)
1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; 7 rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!
Here are where my thoughts go when I read this passage:
1. Our mindset is to be the same as Christ Jesus. Our motivation … our drive … our passion is to be like Him.
2. Though God is Spirit, we understand His nature as God through Jesus in a physical form … made in human likeness.
3. We, made in the image of God and also in human form, are to take on the nature of a servant just as Jesus did.
4. We have been “saved to serve,” and it is this humble nature that equips us to do so with love.
5. Obedience is the mechanism through which we achieve this humble nature to walk in love.
So our lesson is to develop an attitude … a mindset … a servant’s heart and nature … that will value others above ourselves. We should not only consider our own interests, but focus on the interests and needs of others. And I love the exhortation Paul wrote to Titus in this regard:
Titus 3:1-8 (NIV)
1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.