Philippians 2:3-8, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
Although not generally proclaimed proudly, many people live by the saying, “Every man for himself.” Consider the paper towel and toilet paper shortages we faced last spring. Looking back, hoarding large quantities of them seems silly and unnecessary, but it’s a classic example of people looking out for “number one.”
As Christ-followers, we should have a different perspective. We should see ourselves as number two! What a stark contrast to our culture’s worldview! Why should we value others above ourselves? Because Jesus did it for us. Today’s reading says, “He made Himself nothing…a servant” to carry out His Father’s will. Marinate on that thought for a moment…Jesus broke every cultural norm. In the passage above, Paul’s telling us to do the same; he’s saying “think like Christ, be humble and place the needs of others before your own” — which isn’t innate for us. Jesus is humility — for us, it’s a choice that, over time, becomes more instinctive as we grow spiritually. And that choice directly affects the world around us.As we choose to go against the grain and put others first, our lives reflect Christ’s mindset to a world that desperately needs Him. Everyday decisions have the power to point others to Christ, and potentially lead them to question what’s different about us…what we have in our lives that they don’t — Christ — even if they can’t put their finger on it at the time.So, today, remember you’re number two! Humbly lead by example without expecting recognition. And be ready to share that “difference” with others. Do so, because you may be the only “Jesus” some people will ever see!
Watch for opportunities to put others first today. For example, if someone wants to cut in on you — in line or on the road — back up and let them in with a friendly nod instead of a frustrated heart.
Jesus, Thank You for setting the ultimate example of humility for me on the cross. I confess that I often struggle with selfishness — forgive me, Lord! Help me to think and act like You, so that my life shows others that You are at work in this world! Amen.