Imitating Christ’s Humility
2 Therefore 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!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Do Everything Without Grumbling
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
One word comes to mind as I read this chapter- Joy. Paul is so positive and encouraging in this chapter. Even when he is giving instruction, it is in such a way that you want to do it.
What also comes to mind is humility. Paul tells us to do things without complaining or grumbling. Be humble and cheerful. Humility and joy, just as modeled by Jesus. Jesus took on the role of servant during His time on this Earth. Serving others, loving them, helping them, teaching them, never “lording” over people. Can we do the same?
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.. — Philippians 2:3-4
Have you ever met a well known celebrity? People are drawn to celebrities. I can remember times when I’ve been able to shake the hand of a celebrity—feeling my heart race and fumbling over my words. I remember feeling like a complete blubbering fool after trying to engage a couple of my favorite pro-wrestlers from the 90’s a few years ago. Yikes, what a disaster. lol Fame tends to distort our perception of the qualities we should admire and aspire toward. It is always refreshing to see people who are able to remain humble even though they have reached great heights in their life.
If anyone deserved celebrity treatment, it was Jesus, although that definitely didn’t happen. Instead, Jesus came to show us what true greatness really looks like and what true greatness does. Jesus’ ministry on earth was a ministry of humble service. There was nothing pretentious about him. He didn’t expect special treatment. He did not chase after fame. In fact, on more than one occasion, he told others to remain quiet about what they had seen him do or hear him say.
What we learn from Jesus by his example is the importance of putting the needs of others ahead of our own. Our life is not about the pursuit of comfort or recognition but rather in pursuing God’s purposes first, and our own desires second. This is one characteristic about Jesus that we can and should imitate. We are never more like Jesus than when we are serving others.
Father, in our desire to be more humble and hospitable, create in us a heart that aims to serve others in Jesus’ name. May we discover that true greatness is not in fame or position but in humble service. Amen.