“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
My, O my, how this verse cuts across the grain of the culture in which we live. In our culture self is lifted up and almost to the point of being deified. No one is more important than self. It’s about me, my happiness, my fulfillment, my plans, my agenda.
On the other hand, the Apostle Paul is calling us to a life of selflessness, humility, actively seeking the wellbeing of others, even if it means at times, placing the wellbeing of others ahead of our own personal interests.
I don’t know about you, but my flesh screams, when reading such ideas. To me, this looks like the path to a life of great loss not one of great gain.
In his second epistle, the Apostle Peter wrote, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (I Peter 5:5-6).
Our problem is that we want to choose the arena and the time of our exaltation, we want the right people watching. But God says that if we will humble ourselves before Him and submit our lives to Him in obedience, He will exalt us, at the proper time and in the proper place.
If we continue to read on in Philippians 2, we will be awakened about this call and who epitomized this call in the first place. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).
Remember the words of Jesus to His disciples. “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant. For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).
Our world is filled with silly acronyms. But there is one acronym that is disarmingly simple, yet at the same time tremendously profound. JOY, Jesus, Others, Yourself. My friends, this is the winning combination. This is the posture of life that sets the Christian up to be “exalted at the proper time.”