Philippians is one of my favorite books in all of scripture. This week I found myself reading through it again and came across a passage that is worth noting. Philippians 2:3-5, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” If we are to make an impact on the world in which we live in, we have to let these words sink deep within our hearts and souls. If we fail to heed this challenge given by Paul we will almost always find ourselves fighting an uphill battle. Now some of you might say that the Christian battle is already an uphill battle so what difference will this make?
Reread this passage of scripture and pause after reading each part. For example, the first line is this: Don’t be selfish. Ask yourself what selfishness looks like. In what areas of my life do I tend to live selfishly? How can I make little adjustments in my life so that my selfishness turns into selflessness? Leave no stone unturned. Reflect on the role selfishness has played in your life as a whole. Are there patterns that seem to hold true? Are there scenarios in your life where you are more likely to be selfish than others? What differs between moments when you are selfish verses when you find yourself being selfless? Take a moment to note, either physically or mentally, ways that you could live a less selfish life. Then go on to the next line.
“Don’t try impressing others.” This one is hard. I have to admit that to really accomplish this attitude will take a lot of effort on our part. We are inundated with marketing that tells us that we need the latest “things” to impress people or get other people’s attention/approval. It is ingrained in our thinking from the day that we are born.
So now the task becomes how do I live a life that is not concerned with impressing other people? As an example, we can look to Christ. Was he looking to impress other people? Was he looking to get a pat on the back and be the cool kid in the neighborhood? No, he was interested in other people and more concerned with how he felt about others--and his actions proved it. He had no concern for making sure that he was the popular one, the one with all the toys and the one that everyone wanted to hang around with because of these things. Instead he was concerned with truth and finding lost people and hanging out with them because of he loved them and wanted to be with them for eternity. He was on a rescue mission.
After you have gone through this passage picking it apart and relating it to your life, I want you to take a look at another passage. In Galatians 5:19-26 we see a contrast in the traits of the sinful nature and fruit of the spirit. The first list is all rooted in selfish living. Living life for the sole purpose of making sure you get everything that you want and making sure that you are better than others and they know it. The second list reveals the attitude of one that is concerned with heavenly things and has their focus on Christ and what he wants from those who call him Lord.
I encourage you to spend the next seven days really contemplating these two lists and taking an introspective look at yourself and how you are living you life. Ask yourself if there are areas of your life that you are desperately clinging to and need to let go of so that you can live a richer life through Christ. Then when you are ready and have honestly dealt with this passage of scripture in your life take the time to do as verse 24 states and crucify the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Spend some time in prayer and release these things to God and ask him to take control of these areas that need to be crucified in your life.
I will be praying for you all this week. If you feel comfortable let me know how this goes for you. Let me know how you are coming to “have the same attitude of Christ” (PHP 2:5) in your life.
Final Thought: Rejoice in the victory of Galatians 5:25-26 which says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”