(Phl 2:2-4) The specifics of Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians regarding love and humility among believers.
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.
Blue Letter Bible Study Guide
a. By being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind: These together all speak of the same idea; a deep, abiding, internal unity among the Philippians.
i. This unity is the goal. What follows in Philippians 2:3-4 are descriptions of how to achieve and practice the unity mentioned here in Philippians 2:2.
b. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition: This is the first step to this kind of unity. In the flesh, we are often motivated by selfish ambition or conceit. Much of what we do is not done out of love for others, but out of our own desire for “advancement” or “promotion” (selfish ambition).
i. Paul found it important to say selfish ambition. Not all ambition is selfish ambition, and there is a good ambition to glorify God and serve Him with everything we have.
c.. Let nothing be done through … conceit: This is the second step to this kind of unity. Conceit is thinking too highly of one’s self, of having an excessive self-interest and self-preoccupation. It could be more literally translated “empty glory.”
i. A dictionary definition of conceit is “An excessively favorable opinion of one’s own ability, importance, wit,” and so forth. When we do things feeling we are so important, or so able, or so talented, we are out of God’s will. We are working against the unity Paul is pleading with them to have.
d. In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself: This third step to the kind of unity described in Philippians 2:2 is completely contradictory to the attitude of the world, because lowliness of mind is about the least attractive thing to the thinking of this world.
e. Esteem others better than himself: This rebukes much of the culture’s concept of self-esteem. The Bible knows nothing of the idea that we should – and must – carry with us an attitude of confident superiority in every situation, and knows nothing of the idea that this is the foundation for a healthy human personality.
i. While we recognize the intrinsic value of every human life, we can’t deny that the low self-esteem of some is justified, and based in reality. When we are in rebellion against God, it is fitting for us to have a low self-esteem.
ii. As we esteem others better, we will naturally have a concern for their needs and concerns. This sort of outward looking mentality naturally leads to a unity among the people of God.
iii. If I consider you above me and you consider me above you, then a marvelous thing happens: we have a community where everyone is looked up to, and no one is looked down on.
f. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others: Here the thought is completed. As we put away our selfish ambitions, our conceit, and our tendencies to be high-minded and self-absorbed, we will naturally have a greater concern for the interests and needs of others. Paul doesn’t tell us that it is wrong to look out for our own interests, but that we should not only look out for our own interests.
My two cents… Paul is writing to the church of Philippians about the importance of Unity. One definition of Unity I found says “the state of forming and completing a pleasing whole”. There is nothing more toxic than a disunited body of Christ. Paul was and charging the church of his day to walk in love and unity. If we the church of today would take these reminders and actually walk in them we would be an unstoppable army for Christ.
Paul goes on to warn us as Christians in the Body to not to ANYTHING out of selfish ambition. Selfish Ambition can look a variety of different ways. I as the body can’t be concerned with what is best for me and mine. I have to seek what is best for the KINGDOM. How can we have a kingdom mindset if we aren’t diligent and in the Word of God? How can we have this mindset if we don’t pray and also listen to the Lord? We can’t?
When I was growing up my family went out to eat all the time (not much as changed lol) It got to where I would just know what my family would order at each restaurant. When my Dad god older he would forget what he ordered at place to place. My Mom and I would remind him of the salad dressings he liked at different places. We would also give him the choices meals he use to like. Sometimes my dad would just say go ahead and order for me you all know what I like. My Dad would get his meal and say how much he liked it and was glad we remembered.
I am not saying our Lord above is going to forget anything, but my point is that we need to be spending so much time with him and observe what HE does that we KNOW HIS MINDSET. There are times I am in a situation and I know what the Lord would have me do, but there are also situations I am not sure. So, I go to the Lord and the word and seek the answer. There are also times I want to handle something out of what I WANT and HOW I FEEL. When I am faced with that and I know what I want isn’t what the Lord wants I try to go to a quite place and get the Lord’s mindset again. I still fight my flesh too. So, that is why it is so important to recognize when our hearts are wrong and go to the Lord and ask for HIS heart. Trust me the Lord will change your heart when you take it to Him!
Paul also cautions he to not think too HIGHLY of ourselves. Often times we puff ourselves up out of our own insecurities and because we can’t handle seeing our own faults. The study guide calls this empty glory. I prefer to say fake glory and delusional glory.
We are charged to look at EVERYONE we encounter AS BETTER. We are to be the servant in every room in every situation. This helps us have a church full of people not better than the next. This will help all self righteousness to be gone, all selfish ambition to be gone, and all cliques to be gone.
Follower of Christ if we are looking out for each others interests as much or more than our own interests we will actually live this out. I know it goes against the flesh and the culture of our day. BUT YOU WERE MADE FOR MORE!!! This is how we walk talk and be like Jesus. Let’s stop just talking about Jesus but actually LIVE this thing out!.
Lord Jesus please help me to put all of my agenda down at your feet. Help my only though be what YOUR agenda is. Help me be a servant in every atmosphere I walk in. Help me care for others needs the way you care for them. Help me have the confidence that as I am about my Father’s business You will have all mine in line with you and work it out! Take every inch of self-centeredness out of me. Help me LOVE how YOU LOVE. You were the first servant to all help me serve others.