Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.
— PHILIPPIANS 2:3 —
Matthew Johnston: Italian Theological Academy | Italy
The autopilot of our hearts is self—self-concern, self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-preservation. Our thoughts drift rather instinctively to the way we hope to be used, the significance of our contributions, and the way others will appreciate us. Truth be told, we’d really like others to treat us as more important than themselves. Sadly, our selfish ambition even seeps into our attempts at sacrificial service. What limits do you set on the way you will serve? For Christ, exaltation came after a life of humiliation. To consider others as more important than ourselves is to put to death our self-importance. Christ’s example is the weapon Paul gives us to deal self-importance its death blow (Phil. 2:5). Christ’s humility exposes our pride, shatters our attempts to justify self-seeking, and then models the way forward toward selfless, others-centered service. His every step on this earth, from His incarnation to His exaltation (Phil. 2:6–11), was wrought in sacrifice and self-denial. The one who was indeed more important than all others considered us as more important than Himself. Christ’s attitude must become our own. He gladly laid aside His glory, taking the form of a servant (Phil. 2:6–7). Are you prone to give things up to serve others, or to tightly grasp and guard your perceived rights? Christ’s humility knew no bounds: He was “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). What limits do you set on the way you will serve? For Christ, exaltation came after a life of humiliation (Phil. 2:9–11). Do you expect exaltation and ease now in this life? Don’t believe the lie that you can let self-importance live in your heart and still selflessly serve others. May our earthly ministry be like our Savior’s.