But love has no pride when I call out your name
And love has no pride when there’s no one to blame
But I’d give anything to see you again
Now Ms. Ronstadt was singing this song to lost friends and a lost love. But we know that relying only on self and others in this world will always end in disappointment at best and deceit at worst. So what do we do? In whom do we trust and to whom to we call out? Of course it is Jesus.
This is what Paul is explaining to the Philippian Church in his letter and he turns the corner with them beginning with the word “therefore.” And as always in the Bible, you have to know what the therefore is there for. We’ve just looked at living, loving, and preaching like Paul and striving and suffering for Christ. So this sets up one of Paul’s simplest to understand yet most difficult Biblical principles on which to act: humility.
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4)
Let me some up verse one for you. Paul is saying if you are the Christian you think you are, then do this. Paul had great joy in this little church in Philippi, but for his joy to be fulfilled the church would need to continue reaching for unity, which is another word for “being like-minded.” Paul is talking about good old fashioned brotherly love; what the New Testament describes as the “one anothers.” Now of course this is not something that we can conjure up on our own. Paul tells us in verse three to do nothing “through selfish ambition or conceit”; in other words…”It ain’t about you!”
This type of brotherly (phileo) love comes from the work of Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Peter knew this all to well:
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…” (1 Peter 1:22)
Let me some up this verse for you. Peter is saying if you are the Christian you think you are, then do this. (Am I repeating myself?)
So how can I do this in a practical way Bro Dave? You don’t need to ask me; Paul already answered that in verse 4. Stop looking out for #1 as the world teaches. Now Paul is not saying to not take care of yourself and look after your needs. If you don’t do that you just become a ward of the state living off of taxpayers’ money. What he is saying is to look out for others as much as you are looking out for yourself. Imagine a church that actually does that; that is a church meeting the needs of the community.
But the main ingredient in all of this is humility. Let’s revisit verse 3:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
Let me some up this verse for you. You ain’t all that!
Now esteeming others better than yourself is counter-culture. The psycho-babble, mumbo-jumbo nonsensical teaching of self-esteem is a lie straight from the pit of hell.
Don’t believe me?
You will not find a Biblical defense for self-esteem; it is just not there. I know many a prosperity, name and claim it preacher is preaching the gospel of self-esteem from his or her (there’s part of your problem) NTFV Bible, but my Bible teaches just the opposite. That’s a subject for a whole book one day.
So perhaps you are still trying to envision how this humbled life looks like? Are you trying to get a picture of someone who lived his life in such a way?
You know who He is, don’t you?
We’ll look at that next time.
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers