Read Philippians 2
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Do Everything Without Grumbling
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
We all like different styles of clothing and dress. Some like to dress fancy, and some are more casual. Some of us look good in flashy clothes, and others in something completely different. However, there is one item we wear that looks good on everyone. It always fits, never goes out of season, the size is just right, and it goes with everything. What is this all-encompassing “clothing” we can all wear well?
In Philippians 2 we read about the greatest demonstration of humility in the history of the world. In the most ridiculous and unjustified act ever, Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, humbles himself by becoming obedient to death on a cross. Fully God and fully man, Jesus takes our sin upon Himself and dies for you and me. In Philippians 2:3-4 we see that we should have this very same mindset as Jesus Christ. And while we don’t need to die on the cross for our sins, we are to have the same mindset as Christ (v.5). We are to clothe ourselves with humility. In Colossians 3:12, Paul writes, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
It’s often been said that humility doesn’t mean we think less of ourselves, but rather that we think of ourselves less. When we do, we keep our mind steadfast on Christ and on others, and in doing so become more like Jesus Christ. Paul reminds us that this very attitude of humility is observed foremost in Jesus.
The rest of Philippians 2 is filled with great wisdom, but it’s hard to get past the significance of Philippians 2:1-11. The rest of the chapter describes what happens when we live with humility. If we do, then we get to see Philippians 2:12-30 lived out. Our humility should make us stick out in a twisted, perverse, crooked generation. When we humble ourselves like Jesus did, then the world takes notice and God gets the glory.
- Would others consider you to be a humble person? Why or why not?
- In verse 14, Paul says “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Do you think this means we can’t argue with others or ever complain/grumble?
- What encourages you the most as you consider the humility of Jesus Christ?
Did You Know?
Epaphroditus (mentioned in verses 25-30) delivered this letter to the Philippian church. He demonstrated the exact type of sacrificial humility Paul writes about in verses 3-11 as he risks his own life for the sake of the Gospel and for others.