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. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
My thoughts (definitely of much less worth than the Word of God):
The concept of valuing others above myself is not a profound idea. I think at one time or another a person (believer in Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior or not) will do something for someone else purely out of selflessness. If God truly created man in His image then the selflessness that God exhibited by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross so that His people might live should reside within each created human being to some degree. Unfortunately, when sin entered the world at the garden the nature of sin became a part of human existence as well. That nature is to serve self and it wars with the Godly nature God had intended.
The bad news: iPhone, iPod, iPad, self-help, do-it-yourself, do what makes YOU happy, do what feels right, self-directed, self-guided, selfie…I can keep going here…is what the world offers us. If you spend enough time on this planet the theme that culture and society will overwhelmingly teach you is one of self. This is not what God had intended.
The good news: Jesus Christ was sinless. He had no reason to die on a cross because He did nothing wrong. Yet, he humbled Himself to the will of God the Father to pay the price that needed to be paid for sin. He died, but death could not hold Him. He was resurrected, was visibly seen by hundreds and spent many days on earth after His resurrection before eventually ascending back to the throne room in heaven from where He came. Days after his ascension His Holy Spirit began indwelling the people of God on earth and has continued to do so up to this very moment. The Spirit of the living God indwells His people today. God is a God of the living as He lives within His people today. His Holy Spirit works within His people to cultivate a spirit of humility, a servant heart that desire to serve God and a desire to set aside our own wants in exchange for considering the needs of others.
What does this look like? Picking up the phone when someone I haven’t talked to in a while calls. Taking time on a Saturday morning to have breakfast with a friend in need. Inviting people into my home for a meal, conversation, encouragement and prayer. Putting my needs secondary to that of my wife regardless of the pain and struggles I might have going on. Being intentional about connecting with my neighbors. Setting aside time to serve in my local church or in the city I live. Volunteering my time to organizations God has given me a passion for. I’m certain you can think of many more that or more applicable to you.
What I don’t need to worry about is how my needs are going to met. If I’m truly living a God-honoring life that brings Him glory and am continually putting my self last, God will care for me. How do I know that? Read today’s passage again and see what God did for Christ. Need more proof? There plenty of truths about God in the Bible that proclaim His faithfulness to provide the needs of His people. Also in the book of Philippians, check out 4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Prayer opportunities (these didn’t come from me, but are still good)
God give me the desire to see outside myself. Help me to set aside my own wants in exchange for considering others needs. You’ve given me example after example of what being a servant looks like. You sent Jesus to the world, so I can be more like him. Grant me an attitude that reflects Christ’s heart of service. Cultivate in me a heart of humility, I want to be your servant in my everyday life. Allow me to see and respond to the tangible ways I can serve others around me.
Take a moment to try to connect with a neighbor that you don’t know. Ask God to show you if they have any needs that you could help meet or pray for. Maybe it’s as simple as watering their yard while they’re out of town or helping them rake leaves, maybe it will go deeper. Then, prayerfully consider ways that you can serve with your local church or community in a new way.
Words and thought by Daniel H.