Humility: Philippians 2
Sometimes, it can be really difficult to put aside our selfish desires for the benefit of others. Our innate nature is to look out for ourselves first before caring for others. However, God calls us to put to death our fleshly desires and follow the ways of Jesus instead. Jesus had every right to not be humble, but He is the perfect example of humility in every way. In this week’s devotional, we will break down Philippians 2 and other supporting scriptures to understand the humility of Jesus and why it is important to be humble in our daily lives.
Verses 1-2 : The call to humility and oneness
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Philippians chapter 2 begins by encouraging believers to be in unity and of one mind in Christ. Before we discuss what true humility looks like, it’s important to understand the significance of why Scripture encourages us to be in full accord with one another. In John chapter 17, as Jesus is praying to the Father, he says, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” In these verses, we have insight as to why we’re encouraged to be one: when believers are in one accord, we are perfectly connected to God which leads the world to see and understand Jesus through our unity. When we are united as believers, our unity is one of the most powerful ways to share what Jesus commissioned us all to do, which is to spread the love of Jesus with the world (Matt.28:18-20). Going further, Ephesians chapter 4 tells us that when we come together as a body of believers, we “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-15). So, we see that when we are of one mind, there is an increase and fullness of peace, love, faith, knowledge, and maturity in Christ both individually and together as a body (Col.3:12-15).
Verses 3-5: How to achieve oneness through humility
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus
Now that we understand the importance of being one as a body of believers, we can look at verses 3-5 of Philippians to understand how to achieve unity. The first step to oneness and humility is to do nothing from selfish ambition. Although we have a tendency to be selfish as humans and the world encourages us to put ourselves first, the Bible warns us of the immense danger of living in selfishness. James 3:16 states, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice”. We must remember that selfish ambition and envy towards God is what led to the fall of Satan (Isaiah 14:12-15). Not only does selfishness destroy unity, but it also opens the door to all kinds of evil in our lives.
The second step to achieve humility and unity is to count others as more significant than ourselves and look out for the interests of others. Behind loving God with all our hearts, Jesus tells us that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. By this we understand that God’s greatest desire for us is to love. In 1 Cor. 13, Paul gives us a description about love in which he says that love is not “self-seeking”. We are encouraged to have a selfless mindset that Phil. 2:5 says is “yours in Christ Jesus”. In order for us to properly love and tend to others, we must truly learn to deny our fleshly desire to put ourselves first and follow the example of Jesus. It may sound impossible for us to do on our own; that’s because it is. We don’t have to do it in our own power, however, because God gave us the Holy Spirit so the love of Jesus can live in and through us. 1 Corinthians 2:16 goes even further to say that born-again believers “have the mind of Christ”.
Verses 6-8: Christ our perfect example
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Now that we understand we have the mind of Christ, it is important to understand the humility and mind of Jesus so that we can follow His example. Though Jesus was equal with God the Father since the beginning of all existence, he took the humble form of a servant in becoming a man and suffering for our sake. There are countless examples of Jesus being a servant in the gospels. One of the best examples of his servitude is in John chapter 13. Jesus knew that God put all things under His power, but he still laid aside his garments and began to wash the feet of the disciples (John 13:3-6). Jesus then says, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). Sometimes we may feel as though we’re more qualified or talented than someone else or we’re above doing certain tasks, but if our Lord could humble Himself to the point of putting aside his right as King of Kings and serving us, how much more should we lay down ourselves and be servants to one another in complete humility?
Another amazing form of humility that Jesus shows us is His obedience. He was obedient to the Father’s will to the point of suffering the worst possible death on the cross. A great depiction is given in Matthew 26. When Jesus knew He was about to be delivered over to be crucified, He prayed to the Father and said, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) By Jesus’ example, we know that there will be times where we’re called to do things that we may have no desire to do, but despite our own agendas and desires, we must ultimately submit to the perfect will of God as well as submit to our leaders/each other (James 4:7-8) (Ephesians 5:21).
Verses 9-11: Rewards of humility
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
As we’ve seen throughout this study, humility comes at a great cost, but there are also great rewards to those who truly humble themselves in Christ. James 4:10 states, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you”. In Philippians chapter 2, we see that because Jesus took the lowest position as a servant, served humbly in a perfect manner, and took the sins of all humankind upon himself by dying a brutal death on the cross, God rewarded Him by giving Him the highest honor and dominion over all of creation (1 Cor. 15:23-28).
Yes, it may be extremely difficult at times to let go of our pride and feelings, humble ourselves, and place others before us; but we serve a faithful and loving God who’s willing to not only work His love and humility through us, but also reward us greatly when we surrender to Him. Throughout scripture, God exalts and rewards the humble with favor, grace, wisdom, and honor (Proverbs 22:4) (Proverbs 3:34) (Proverbs 11:2). So, let’s put our trust in God, ask Him to give us the mind of Jesus, and look forward to opportunities to serve those who God has placed in our lives.
Take away Tips
Humbly and confidently ask God to give you the mind of Christ
Remind yourself daily of the humility and servanthood of Jesus
Seek out opportunities to serve and put others’ interests above your own
Thank you for being with us for this week’s devotional. We hope and pray this was a blessing to your walk with Jesus! If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned in this devotional or haven’t yet surrendered your life to Christ, please contact us through the website. We also want to pray for you! If you have any prayer requests for yourself or others, you can go to the prayer requests section of our website and submit your request. Thank you once again, we hope and pray you have a blessed week!
In Jesus' name,