Exalt One Another

Scripture: Philippians 2:3, ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.’

 

Observations: To understand this verse it must be placed into the wider context. It’s part of a single sentence in the Greek that covers verse 1-4. Paul starts with four ‘ifs (v1)’ and then he gives a command ‘make my joy complete (v2a)’ and then he lists six ways we can do that (v2b-4). Basically if certain things are true then we ought to behave in a certain way. All these things have to do with how we function as the body of Christ. As Christians we ought to be ‘of the same mind, having the same love, harmonious, of one mind, not rivalry or vanity but considering one another better than ourselves, not self-interest but also each other’s.’ There are three significant ideas in this verse. Firstly, we are to ‘consider’ one another better than ourselves. The truth is they may not be better than us, in fact in some ways they may be worse, but that’s not the point. We are to ‘consider’ them better. Secondly, we are to one another ‘better than’ ourselves. While we believe that everyone is made in the image of God and therefore we all have the same value, we are to treat other people as if they were better then us. That implies we treat them with respect and honour, that we listen to them and even defer to them (In a sense we exalt them, or raise them above ourselves). Thirdly, this requires ‘humility.’ It takes great humility to treat someone better then ourselves. It’s impossible to be humble if you are ‘ambitious’ and ‘vain.’ In fact, in the next verse Paul tells us that rather than being self-interested, we need to be other-interested.

 

Application: How do you see yourself in the context of our church community? Do you see yourself as one of the better church members, or maybe one of the more spiritually mature? The truth is that may or may not be true, but the point is we show our spiritual maturity by humbling ourselves before others and considering others better than ourselves. How can you practically show others that you consider them better than you? Maybe you can find ways to serve them, or honour them in some way. You could give them the best seats. You could get them coffee. You could ask their opinion about something. If Jesus has changed your life how can you change someone else’s life?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when it’s all about me instead of living out of Your goodness and love. Lord, protect me from selfish ambition and conceit. Remind me that in Jesus You gave up everything for my sake, and help me do the same for the sake of others. Lord, may I become more humble, like Jesus humbled himself even to the point of dying like a criminal. Lord, help me to consider others better than myself, that I may love and care and honour them. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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