“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross…Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:3-8,12-15
This is a hard calling, a difficult obedience. Do nothing from self-interest? No thinking myself deserving, no competition, no putting myself first, no claiming my rights? I might be able to treat others unselfishly, but truly count them as more significant than myself? Who can do this? How?
Look up to Christ Jesus, the perfect example, in the cross. Empty myself of personal agenda and grow in His. Develop the mind of Christ by ongoing reverent submission to the One Who works the attitude and impulse and willingness in us. Look out to others. Set aside pride to serve with humility, exchange selfish complaining and arguing for blameless, uplifting talk that honors God’s good pleasure. Jesus plants in us His resurrection power that raises us above self and its default self-centered proclivities to shine in a dark world. (Philippians 3:10)
Working out such humility in the every day involves relinquishing rights, privileges that are mine by way of position or name, for the sake of others– step back in line, let another go first. It requires adjustments in conversation– invite another’s opinions and preferences, listen, give in to their wants for their delight; keep silent the last word. It always involves serving- do for others before self, as a young wife told me she ‘ironed her husband’s shirts first.’ Spend time to care for the lonely, expend energy and resources to meet practical needs, smooth the path for another’s benefit, drive the extra mile even when it’s inconvenient.
Jesus laid down His life for me, He endured the cross for the more significant joy of my salvation. He plants in us His Spirit, and calls us to have His mind, attitude, and humility. Only He can free me from preferring myself to consider others more significant, and live the crucified with Christ in the way I treat them. (1 Corinthians 2:12,16; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 12:2)
Lord, teach me to make myself nothing because You are everything, and everything to me. Plant in me Your mind that takes no thought for self but genuinely prefers others. May I live in such a way that Jesus shines through, daily laying down my life that Yours be known and experienced.