Joy in Following Christ’s Example of Humility

In his letter to the Philippians Paul reminds us of the example of Christ, of the love of Christ and he urges us act upon it.

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,                               

  • When I am united with Christ I have encouragement and comfort from His love.

Knowing Christ contributes so much to our well-being! For me Jesus Christ has made huge difference in my life because I know I have value, worth and purpose.  I feel and know the unconditional love of Jesus, which is priceless to me in world that can so quickly tear me down.   I have peace, joy, satisfaction and security that I did not have before.

“Fellowship with the Spirit” When a person believes in Jesus Christ as Savior, he or she receives the Holy Spirit.  Each believer has personal fellowship with the Holy Spirit in his or her private life; all the believers are united by the same Spirit in times of fellowship. Because there is only one Spirit, there can be only one body, factions or divisiveness have no place in the body of Christ.

“Tenderness and compassion”  When the Holy Spirit works in a believer’s life, fruit is produced (Galatians 5:22-23). Paul pointed out two particular “fruits” of true concern for one another that help build unity among believers. “Tenderness” refers to sensitivity to others’ needs or feelings; “compassion” means feeling the sorrow of another person and desiring to help alleviate it. Such concern for one another unifies a body of believers.

2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

 Why did Paul focus on the mind (“like-minded”) during times of conflict and trouble? Our  mind has analytic abilities;  it creates reasons and justifies actions. It harbors suspicions and catalogs offenses against us. It advocates fighting for our rights. A bad attitude fosters resentment. The remedy is twofold: keep the proper attitude with a wholehearted love for others, and keep unified with fellow believers. Make peacemaking a top priority.

Because of their common experience in Christ and their common fellowship with the Holy Spirit, the believers should then be like-minded. This does not mean that the believers have to agree on everything; instead, each believer should have the mind (or attitude) of Christ, which Paul describes at length in 2:5-11. The word translated “like-minded” in this verse is the same word translated “attitude” in 2:5.

  •  As Christian I am to have the same purpose as Christ.

 What is the purpose of Christ?  Didn’t he say it real clearly, Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” NIV

He gave us (the church) same purpose after he rose from the dead (go make disciples.. Matt. 28:19) It’s our purpose as a church “To love God, love people and share Jesus.”  That is what we are to be all about.

 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

 Many people, even Christians live only to please themselves. But self-centered living, selfish ambition, or conceit brings disagreement. Paul stressed spiritual unity, asking the Philippians to love one another and to be one in spirit and purpose. When we work together, caring for the problems of others as if they were our problems, we demonstrate Christ’s example of putting others first, and we experience unity.  Let’s not be so concerned about meeting our own needs that we strain relationships in God’s family. Let the Spirit of God work through us to attract others to himself.

  •  As a Christian I should seek to be selfless, humble and considerate of others.

While selfish ambition and conceit can ruin unity, genuine humility can build it. Being humble involves having a true perspective about ourselves in relation to God, which in turn gives us a correct perspective on our relationships with others. Being humble does not mean that we should put ourselves down, tell everyone how bad we are at everything, and refuse to acknowledge any good in ourselves. Instead, humility is a healthy respect for who God is, and then a healthy respect for ourselves because of what God did on our behalf. We are sinners, saved only by God’s grace, but we are saved and therefore have great worth in God’s kingdom. We are to lay aside selfishness and treat others with respect and common courtesy.

Regarding others as better than ourselves means that we are aware of our own failings and are thus willing to accept failings in others without looking down on them. It means that we can look for and point out the good in others, rather than just looking for and pointing out our own good qualities. It also means that we consider others’ interests as more important than our own. This selfless attitude links us with Christ, who was a true example of humility. It is the very opposite of conceit and selfish ambition, and it allows believers to work together, to have tenderness and compassion, and to have the attitude and love of Christ Jesus himself.

 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 People often compare themselves to others to excuse their behavior or to bolster their pride. They may think, for example, “What I did wasn’t so bad. After all, look at what she did.” They may look at people who are worse off and think that they are pretty good in comparison. Or they may think the worst of people and quickly judge them. Those kinds of comparisons can only lead to pride and self-centeredness. Paul wrote that instead we should assume that others are better than we are, giving them the benefit of the doubt. In so doing, we will build others up and develop humility. We need to show consideration to others.

  • As a Christian the interests of others should be a factor.

Philippi was a multicultural city. The church there reflected great diversity, with people from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life. Acts 16 gives us some indication of the diverse makeup of this church, which included Lydia, a Jewish convert from Asia and a wealthy businesswoman (Acts 16:14); perhaps a slave girl (see Acts 16:16-17), probably a native Greek; and the jailer serving this colony of the empire, probably a Roman (Acts 16:25-36). With so many different backgrounds among the members, unity must have been difficult to maintain. Paul encourages us to guard against any selfishness, prejudice, or jealousy that might lead to dissension. Showing genuine interest in others is a positive step forward in maintaining unity among believers.

 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Many people feel that they can’t control their moods or attitudes. But Paul doesn’t accept the fact that Spirit-filled Christians are slaves to their attitudes. Christ had this attitude; so must we. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5 niv).

  • As a Christian I should seek to have the same attitude as Jesus.

One of the great myths of popular psychology that has drifted into the church today deals with impulsive behavior based on emotions. In an attempt to get in touch with our feelings, this myth advocates that we must do what our feelings indicate. Christians are able to be in touch with their feelings but still do what following Christ requires. Those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior enter a community of believers, the church. Believers are to obey their Savior because of who he is and what he has done on their behalf. Paul eloquently describes this in the following verses

7… TAKING THE VERY NATURE OF A SERVANT

When Christ was born, God became a man. Jesus was not part man and part God; he was completely human and completely divine. Before Jesus came, people could know God partially. Afterward, people could know God fully, because he became visible and tangible. Christ is the perfect expression of God in human form. As a man, Jesus was subject to place, time, and other human limitations. He did not give up his eternal power when he became human, but he did set aside his glory and his rights. In response to the Father’s will, he limited his power and knowledge. What made Jesus’ humanity unique was his freedom from sin. In his full humanity, we can see everything about God’s character that can be conveyed in human terms.

As Christians, we must take Christ’s example to heart. No one must flaunt his or her rights or authority, but instead should seek a life of service. The church also must serve, not promoting its own power, survival, or security. The church must not hoard its resources of people and treasure but should make them available to God’s worldwide mission.

  • When I serve others I have the same attitude as Jesus.

Two plotlines fill the world with stories. The first tells of bottom-up progress: pauper to magnate, scavenger to CEO, log cabin to White House. In the Bible, the stories of Joseph, Ruth, and David provide exciting examples of how people held in low esteem rose to power and blessing.

Another plotline tells of top-to-bottom change: height to depth, glory to shame, power to weakness, monarch to slave. One Bible person really fits this story line, and he urges all who follow him to consider its meaning for them. He is the living Christ, God incarnate, who died as a criminal on a Roman cross for you. He laid aside his rights as son of God to enter our world to find us.

Our life stories should parallel his. We must become servants if God for a needy world. It is a plotline few people will understand until we live it for them.

Darrell

www.Upwards.Church

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About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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