Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who… emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant… humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.Philippians 2:5-8
I’ve been very slowly studying the book of Philippians since February. I’m intentionally doing this slowly because it takes me a while to fully dig into scripture. I’m focusing on one chapter a month and that usually means one passage a week. After first going through the scripture on my own several times, I again referred to expositions by John Piper on DesiringGod.org which were very insightful.
Last month, I wrote on what I learned about living for Him from Philippians 1. In my study of chapter 2 in March, I learned more about what it means to live like He did.
In the first week, I studied verses 1-4 which is on the topic of christian humility. I love verse 3 which says:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.Philippians 2:3
So that means humbling ourselves to see others as more significant and worthy of serving. And then doing so for their benefit; not thinking about how we can benefit from that, or coming from a place of selfishness or conceit.
I think if you’re a parent then you probably do this without too much thought. But the challenge we face is in extending that to others outside our family – choosing to see the interests of others not just our own.
Of course, we also need to have our lives in order – we need to see to our interests – so that we can see to the interests of others. If our lives are too busy or chaotic, we become occupied with our own business and that leaves very little room be available and even notice the needs of others.
We also have to reach beyond this to see the interests of others as our interests. To see what matters to others as what matters to us, which is what matters really to Christ. We’re seeing to the needs of Christ when we care for others.
The humility that is required to do this, to have this mindset, comes from being in fellowship with Christ.
In verses 5-11, Paul talks about Christ’s humility which is an example for us.
He humbled himself before God the Father to take on the form of a servant. He was obedient to do the will of God even to the point of death. And death on the cross, which is not only gruesome, but shameful and cursed according to Deuteronomy 21.
It was very humbling to reflect on this around Easter. He did this because His nature is Love. I don’t know what specifically God has called you to. I have suffered and endured some hard things myself. But I think you’ll agree that they pale in comparison to the cross.
In Week 3, I studied verses 12 – 18 where Paul reminds us that we are lights in the world.
Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life.Philippians 2:14-16
The CSB version uses the word “stars”, but other versions, the ESV for example, uses “lights”. That is what we are – lights, beacons of hope in the world, that lead others to Christ. We’re not stars in the sense that we are better or amazing or popular. We don’t gather followers for ourselves. Instead, we point others to our source of hope which is Jesus.
We do this by living a life that is different and in accordance to God’s word, though it be unpopular, by the power of the spirit of God working in and through us.
The chapter wraps up with verses 19-30. Paul drives home his exhortation to live as servants worthy of the gospel by using Timothy and Epaphroditus as examples.
Timothy because he is very much of the same mind as Paul. He served in ministry with Paul like a son with a father. He has a proven character and genuinely cares for their (the Philippians) interests.
Epaphroditus served Paul in many ways. He was very useful and important to Paul, so sending him to the Philippians was a sacrifice for Paul. In doing so he puts their needs, as well as those of Epaphroditus, ahead of his own.
Epaphroditus almost died on his journey but lived by God’s mercy. Paul saw his recovery as a merciful act towards Epaphroditus in saving his life, but also to Paul himself to spare him even more sorrow. This just shows us that God knows how much we can handle.
He is merciful to give us only what will grow us and not break us entirely. Knowing this should help us to face the struggles and trials when they come.
Joy & Peace, Sister!