Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,
but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (ESV)
“Mom, she/he’s annoying me”
“Just don’t be annoyed” I tell my kids all the time.
My husband puts it, “assume goodwill”. Yet, it’s hard to assume a sibling wants the best for you, when you can tell they’re trying to bug you.
It’s an out of this world concept. A divine one. A freeing one. But how do we, or our children, make it to the point of not being offended? Even as adults, we get offended through miscommunication or other means.
There’s a saying ‘hurt people, hurt people’. I see this concept playing out in my children. One gets quick to anger, and the other gets offended, and it escalates. It’s funny how my kids want to twist the golden rule of Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. They reason their sibling wants to be treated with cruelty. Since that’s how they felt they were treated.
Yet if we are in Christ, we assume His attitude of servitude. Knowing we are highly valued in Christ, we have humility to spare. This makes it easier to follow Christ’s way, to treat others the way you want to be treated.
Jesus says “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:38-40), “My peace I leave with you” (John 14:27), “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31)
What is the core motivation to follow all these ways of Jesus and more? Is it not rendering to God His rightful place on the throne in our own lives?
What is revenge but considering ourselves as higher than the one who offended us? Who are we to show favoritism to ourselves? (James 2:1-9)
What is retaliation but the felt need for self-validation or self-preservation? Does it not come from a place of pride, fear and selfishness? (Matthew 16:25)
It’s amazing how right-thinking, shaped from God’s heavenly perspective in the Bible, can liberate us! (2 Corinthians 10:5, Romans 12:2, John 8:36)
When we’re resting in God’s validation, we don’t need to be treated with any self-imputed importance. Since we rest in the all surpassing worth God placed on us, when He chose to die to reconcile us unto Himself. And in this, as Christ stooped low, we too can fellowship in His lowliness. (Matthew 11:29) This is completely counter to human reason, but aligned with divine wisdom. (John 13:16)
When we follow Jesus with humility, as today’s verse instructs, there will be a joy that far outweighs the temporary/earthly inconvenience. (Philippians 3:8, Philippians 4:7,1 Peter 1:6-9) We know we follow a Master who overcame the world. (John 16:33) We live in Him. We no longer have the need to get caught up in vain pursuits. (Matthew 6:31-33)
What is the purpose of treating others as higher than yourself? Does it not have the affect of turning hearts and attention to our amazing God, so they too can enjoy fellowship with Him in Christ? If we are not diligently yielding to the instruction of Jesus in this way, aren’t we just acting like the hurting world and adding to the blindness of the lost? (Philippians 1:28)
Just imagine the powerful witness of a refreshingly un-annoyed, un-angered demeanor, while displaying relentless love to others!
Heavenly Father, thank-You for imparting upon us this wisdom to lift others up above self. We praise You for the blessed assurance that we are valued in Your Son, and have no need to lift ourselves up. Let this truth bring rest to our souls and stir our hearts to walk in humility like You. We know this cognitively, enable us by Your Spirit to put others ahead of ourselves, ceding Your rightful place on the throne of our hearts. ~Amen
In and of ourselves we can do nothing, but abiding in Christ, we can be Small but Mighty.