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. – Philippians 2:3-4
In his letter to the Philippian congregation, Paul noted many things for which he was grateful concerning them and their generosity toward him and to others in general. He admonished them to pursue serving others and keeping themselves pure and blameless before others. In this way, they would remain above reproach. Among his warnings, he advised them to do nothing out of selfishness or conceit. Instead, they were to remain humble, value others before themselves, and to put the interests of others above theirs.
This passage, and letter, is a huge indictment against the American church in this day and age. In the land of the free and home of the brave, there has been and still is a land of plenty, flowing with milk and honey! Because of this wealth and freedom, the people of this nation, despite their generosity to others, have allowed pride and vanity to take hold like a tick on a dog’s ear. Even people in the body of Messiah have succumbed to the ways of the post-modern world in which we live.
Christians are beginning to forsake the very foundations of the Scriptures in pursuit of personal pleasures and world gain. We now allow homosexuals in our pastorates and positions of authority. Homosexual marriages are condoned in various denominations in the name of love and grace, to wit they are an abomination. Divorce rates among Christians are at rates paralleling those in the world. The world has embraced the philosophy of open arms to all and anything goes!
Whereas Paul advises us to put the interests of others before ours, it not to say that we cower to the pressure destroying our culture and way of life. Jesus taught the golden rule of treating others the way you want them to treat you. This is how you go about putting others’ interest above yours. If we merely step aside and allow evil to become good and good become evil, we are complicit in the destruction that engulfs our lives. No, we must learn to serve our fellow man for the sake of the gospel by spreading the good news of Jesus the Messiah and the truth of his Word. We work to please the Father, and LORD of our Messiah, not mankind or ourselves. While at the same time, we must ever remain on guard and be ready to defend our faith and give an explanation of why we believe what we believe. Even Nehemiah had his workmen building the walls of Jerusalem with one hand and a sword in the other.
Jesus the Messiah served those around him in everything from turning water into wine to healing the sick and raising the dead! He even went so far as to allow himself to be arrested, tried, convicted, and executed but finally resurrected in order that he may fully display the heart of a servant and the work required of one who serves others to the ultimate end without ever compromising who he was or what he believed!
This is the life that Paul tells the Philippians and us to emulate. Prefer others and do nothing to promote yourself. It’s not about us but all about him! We accomplish this feat by loving the LORD our God with all our being and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Therefore, keep yourself balanced with periodic checkups from the neck up! Be willing to lend a hand and help others but without compromising your faith or giving into temptation! Stand true to Messiah, others, and yourself. Let your word be your bond. Remember that we are in this world but not of this world!
Father, LORD God Almighty, he who sits between and is enthroned between the cherubim, thank you for the truth of your word. Your Spirit brings its truths alive in me and helps me to learn the right path to follow. I’ve not always been the most humble servant or obedient child, but I am still learning and practicing the ways you prescribe for us in your word. I take your word with great care and utmost sincerity. Please continue to show me the way to remain humble and all the while continuing to serve others in whatever capacity you want. I don’t want to be like the world that says one thing and then does another. I want to be a man of my word and keep my integrity intact. May only your will be done, not mine. As you lead, I’ll follow. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me past, present, and future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.