Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
For too long in my life, I had an incorrect view of humility. I thought humility meant self-deprecation, thinking less of myself. When I was complemented or earned an award of some kind, in an effort to be humble, I would think less of myself—possibly even insult myself in some way. But this is a false humility. Though I was looking down on myself, I was still way too focused on myself. True humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less. Another way humility has been described is a ‘blessed self-forgetfulness.’
This is what Paul is getting at in these verses. Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves, but it is counting others more significant than ourselves. In other words, the way of humility isn’t to tear ourselves down, but to esteem others more highly than ourselves. Humility means we become deeply interested in others. Our ambition becomes to serve others well. When we serve others well, conceit begins to shrivel up in our hearts.
Paul is telling us to prize humility, to delight in humility, to seek out humility. Why? Because it is what we are made for and it is what we are saved for. In Philippians 2.5, Paul says that we are to put on the mind of Christ, and the mind of Christ is a humble mind. Christ was in the form of God, but he humbled himself; he took on human form and he died on a cross for us. In his life, death and resurrection, Jesus secured for us the power to be humble.
Today, will you prize humility? Will you delight to increase in humility? Do you have an action plan to kill pride and increase humility in your life? Do you have a plan for considering others more significant than yourself? Maybe you don’t think you need to grow in humility. If this is so, check with some people who know you well and will tell you the truth. Ask them these questions:
Am I quick to anger (even while driving)?
Am I easily offended?
Do you feel like I am deeply interested in you?
Jesus lived, died, and rose again, and has put his Spirit in our hearts, so we can be like him. Jesus humbled himself so we could be raised from the dead, and right now promises that all things in life will be worked together for our good. Ask him to graciously work the beautiful strength of humility into your heart.
We invite you to attend a worship service at FCC on Sundays at 9 and 11 am.