Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
This Sunday we will be studying Genesis 37. You may be aware that in this chapter we come across a young 17 year old named Joseph. I am amazed at this story and I have enjoyed studying the events throughout his life. Specifically I am encouraged by God’s grace on his life even in the midst of great dysfunction. In the early story of Joseph it is easy to identify expressions of pride and arrogance that created disunity within the family structure. If there is one lesson we need to learn from Joseph it is the importance of pursuing a life a humility!
Have you ever taken time to think about humility? What exactly is this character trait? Simply put, humility is lowliness of mind. Philippians 2 is a passage that helps shape a gospel definition of humility. I like the NKJV translation of v. 4. It clearly depicts the idea of this passage. The Greek word here is a combination of the words “humble” and “think.” Paul is stating that lowliness is humble thinking.
Now in secular Greek and Roman thought, this was not a virtue that people would pursue. In that culture people were encouraged to stand up and assert themselves! Be your own man!” Does this mindset sound familiar? Much like the Romans in Paul’s day, people in our culture are driven toward this level of arrogance. However the Bible calls us to emulate Christ. And what did He do? Paul states in vv. 5-8 that he humbled Himself. He took the form of a servant. He died on a criminals cross.
Humility is other focused! The last part of v. 3 can be interpreted one of two ways. Some think that Paul is saying, “You need to consider others to be better human beings than you are.” The problem with this interpretation is that it turns humility into a sort of mind trick. And it can even lead to dishonesty. It’s been stated that, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” And that leads us to the best option for understanding this passage. I believe Paul is saying that we should place more value on others than we place on self. That is easy to state but difficult to accomplish. Pray that God would lead us into a life of humility!
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.