Philippians 2:3-4 (NAS)
“Do nothing out of selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself, do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interest of others.”
WOW! So if we are honest with ourselves I’d say this is very difficult for us as people. I am sure there is a select few of you out there that have mastered this and I commend you for your holiness and righteousness. However, for the masses here are a few thoughts of encouragement.
- God’s standard is opposite of what comes naturally.
Look at that first phrase: “Do nothing out of selfishness or empty conceit…”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even a theologian to tell you that selfishness and conceit come naturally. You don’t have to teach anyone these things. Think about children-the first thing we teach them as parents is to share because their natural inclination is that everything is “MINE”.
- Our standard is so much lower than God’s
Look at verse three again: “Do NOTHING out of selfishness or empty conceit…” Notice the word, “nothing.”
I know in my mind I still don’t have a standard of doing NOTHING out of selfishness. Most of the time my standard is a whole lot lower. In fact when it comes to selfishness I usually pat myself on the back if I do ANYTHING that’s not selfish, let alone having God’s standard of doing NOTHING out of selfishness. I’m sure this never happens to you, but I have noticed that even when I do anything around the house, I hope that my wife notices. Whether that’s making the bed or vacuuming the house. I am already feeling good about my selfless behavior and I sure hope she notices. Just so you know, that’s not God’s standard!
- Christ-like behavior is our responsibility
Look again at verse 3: “Do nothing out of selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind LET EACH OF YOU REGARD ONE ANOTHER AS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HIMSELF.” Do you notice how much of the responsibility of obeying this verse is on us? All of it! It boils down to be humble at heart. Be a person of humility. Humility is an action not a style. The goal is not to be labeled “humble.” The goal is to act humbly and the responsibility for that is ours.
It is probably safe to say that humility is the one character quality that will enable us to be all Christ wants us to be. We cannot come to God without it. We cannot love God supremely without it. We cannot be an effective witness for Christ without it. We cannot love and serve others without it. We cannot lead in a godly way without it. We cannot communicate properly without it. We cannot resolve conflict without it, we cannot deal with the sin of others rightly without it. We especially cannot resist sin without it. In short, we must embrace and live out humility in order to truly live and be who God means for us to be.