Philippians 2:1-11

June 3, 2021


Humility. It’s not a word we find much in our self-love, self-affirming world, right? Yet we wonder why our world is so divided. 

After Paul has made an exhortation to the Philippians to become united with the same love and the same mind, he gives them the practical way to do this: 

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4)

In other words: Be Humble. Ugh. 

Paulis telling us that in order to be united, we have to put others before ourselves. It makes sense, really. Every time I get into a fight with my husband, we both have this horrible tendency to fight to win. But when we stop to actually care about each other’s thoughts and feelings, we listen more. We talk less. One of us might still be right (usually me, of course…HA) but when we aren’t trying to shove our own ideas in each other’s faces we’re much more likely to listen and then we become united in trying to come to an agreement instead of divided in trying to win. Paul knows what he’s talking about here, friends.

Butthis humility thing is really hard for us. Why? Because humility does not come naturally to us. We believe we deserve so much. We deserve to have a night off from the dishes when we’re the ones who made dinner! We deserve a thank you from our kids for all the work we do for them! We deserve a raise for all the hours we put in over everyone else! Treat yourself, you’re the best! All the while, we’ve forgotten that we aren’t actually the best. We’re completely full of sin, and we actually deserve death because of that sin. We see this exact situation in Genesis, when Adam and Eve choose to eat the forbidden fruit. Satan tells them they will be just like God if they eat of the tree. But this was the big lie: Disobeying and trying to be like God made them as opposite of “like God” as they could have ever been. It made them prideful.

Of all the people who had the right to self-love and pridefulness, it was Jesus.  He is literally equal to God, he IS God, yet he didn’t use this against anyone. He could have said he was too mighty for death (he was!) but he chose to go through it because obedience to God’s will was more important than his significance. It was because of this humble obedience that he was exalted. (Phil. 2:8-9).

Humble obedience makes us most in God’s image. That’s the great irony. The more humble we become, the less we want to be like God because we know he is the only one who deserves all the glory. Yet the more humble we become the more we become like God. And while we will never become God, because of his humble death on the cross, all of our sin is covered and we will get to share in his victory when he returns. Incredible!

So when your home, your marriage, or your church family feels divided, maybe you can ask yourself: am I putting my family’s needs above my own? Or do I feel like I deserve all the glory right now? Am I putting down the thoughts of my brothers and sisters in Christ because I feel like mine are better? Or am I humbly listening to their side and choosing to look to their interests in the same way I look to my own?

And if and when you fail to be humble, look to Christ and praise him that he chose humility every step of the way to cover when you couldn’t.

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