What does Christian living look like? That’s what the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians covers. What Paul is telling the church is to have the same mindset as Jesus. What does that look like? It’s not cookie-cutter. Unity in Christ works from the inside out — with the help of the Holy Spirit.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself — it is thinking of yourself less.”C.S. Lewis
That is the opposite of what the world says. When I was in college in the 70s, it was all about striving to be the best — the power position, breaking the glass ceiling, making money, success. The true Christian attitude is all about humility and service. Thinking of others first.
It’s interesting because in today’s business world, you have to put the customer first. The successful business is one that is people-focused.
The Christian is to strive to be like Jesus — to put others first above themselves.
Let’s see what Paul has to say in chapter 2…
Philippians Chapter 2
Imitating Christ’s Humility
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.
- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
- Value others above themselves.
- Have the same attitude as Christ.
- Acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and worship only Him.
- Give the glory to God the Father — no one else.
- Do everything without grumbling.
- Become blameless and pure.
- Hold firmly to the word of life.
- Be glad and rejoice in their salvation.
Who was Epaphroditus? He apparently brought food and money to care for Paul while he was in prison in Rome. He risked his life and became ill. Prison back then was nothing like it is today. No one cooked for you. You were lucky to just get water. It was up to the family and friends of the prisoners to take care of them. Paul sends Epaphroditus back with the letter and tells them that Timothy will be going there soon.
Read this letter again and hold it up against your life. How do you hold up in the light of Jesus?