Oct 10 — Philippians 2a

Philippians 2:1-11 — Christ’s Example of Humility

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One Reply to “Oct 10 — Philippians 2a”

  1. As I think about Philippi, the Roman colony, the haven for retired Roman leaders and citizens, I can’t help but imagine Paul must remind these people of importance and stature, those who earned their positions through war and bloodshed (or perhaps by climbing the corporate ladder), that they must learn to humble themselves as Christ demonstrated. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Speaking from a military background, I’ve seen many promoted out of selfish ambition, but I’ve also seen many who have held true to this principle. My wife is a great example…well, my wife is just plain great, but that’s a whole different topic! She served 27 years and never forwarded her agenda above the mission. Her example inspired many others who look to her with great respect because she respected them.

    Paul always emphasizes Jesus’ example over his own. This is significant when we consider who he was addressing when he penned this letter. Consider the example of Christ: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage” (2:6). Other translations have a slightly different emphasis on the last phrase, e.g., “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (NASB and others). This is not a goal for us to attain, we’re not climbing a spiritual ladder to increase our position or posture ourselves closer to God–we will never be equal to God. Perhaps many have had great success in business by becoming shrewd leaders, jockeying for position and prestige. Jesus completely destroys that model of behavior and Paul reminds the Philippians clearly.

    Put these two concepts together and I think Paul is telling us to stop comparing ourselves to each other. I can imagine that in Philippi, there was one street for retired generals and one for retired centurions…far apart and distinct. That’s just my supposition, but based on my experience with military aristocrats, I don’t think I’m far off. Paul breaks down these divisions by pointing to Jesus. Compared to Christ, four stars on my shoulder is nothing! Lord help me remember this lesson as I look forward to the day when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (2:10).

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