September 30 – Who’s Better – Me or You?

Philippians 2: 1 – 11     (NLT)

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

  1. On your fingers. List at least 4 qualities that Paul is asking us to have as Christ followers.

The next verses give us the example to follow:

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

Do those verses ever bring me to a full stop.  WOW!   So there’s my example!  I can’t understand one iota what it must have been like to be God – all knowing, all powerful, all EVERYTHING wonderful – and to completely limit himself in human form.

How in the world did Jesus ever endure life on earth when at any moment, He could have said, “This is ridiculous – that’s it!  You’re all done!”  Think of all the arrogant people who challenged Him, think of all the suffering He saw, and think of the horror of the cross and being convicted of criminal offenses.  God a criminal?  Or at least that is what His created people claimed.  Talk about being completely unknown and misunderstood! Totally unappreciated! Yet Jesus did that for you and me. How much more selflessly humble could Jesus have been?

Being like Christ is the challenge Paul presents in the first verses of this chapter when he tells us, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

This quality of being humble is something I’ve struggled with all my life.  I do want to follow Christ’s example, but it is hard and I think if you’re honest with yourself, you’d agree.  It’s so easy to get involved in something, or help out, because we think we’re good at it, smart, more organized, more qualified, etc.  More of whatever.  Or we just want to impress people and hope they think we’re wonderful.  (Yuck! What an admission.)

This self absorption is part of our human, sin nature.  Remember Eve?  When Satan whispered to her that she could become like God, she fell for that dream.  She ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, and we have followed that pattern ever since.  We each put our selves first, wanting to be able to control our world around us.

There have been moments in my life where this quality of humility really struck home.   One of those moments happened while our family was living on the Kijabe mission station in Kenya for several months.  I was there to teach at Rift Valley Academy and my husband was there to help the mission hospital go from paper records to computerization. We were there to help! The national woman who looked after our house invited us to have dinner with her family; she cleaned, did laundry, and did a lot of food preparation for us.  Alice lived several kilometres up the side of the Rift Valley escarpment, so we drove up most of the way before she met us, and we trekked to her village and home.  As I sat perched on a wood plank set on stones – her sofa – in her tin-roofed hut, I realized that I wasn’t here to help, but to learn and admire.

Alice walked those several kilometres up and down the steep escarpment every day to work at my house – a walk that was way too hard for us to walk even once. I was taking a course from a professor from the University of Nairobi who came to the Academy to teach the graduating high school students a course on Kenyan literature.  Alice read all the books I bought for the course, and loved to talk with me about the books and the Kenyan culture written about in the books.  I think I learned more from her than from the professor. She laughed at me (in a nice way). She was sympathetic as I tried to adjust to living in rural Kenya, and frankly, I couldn’t have survived as well as I did, if Alice hadn’t become my mentor and friend.

My Kenyan experience is a rather dramatic example of learning to “be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves”.  I suspect we all struggle to keep a balance of self-esteem with humility.  I don’t think it’s psychologically sound to keep putting yourself down, nor do I think that is what God intends.  God loved us and even died for us – we are not without value.  So while it’s OK to recognize and value our own skills and abilities, we also need to have the right attitude as described in the first verses of Philippians 2.

This past year and a half have been hard. We’ve struggled in so many ways. When we read the verses today, we wonder if we reflect those values – tender, compassionate, agreeing, loving one another, working together, being unselfish, being humble, looking out for others. If there was ever a time in history for us to be like Jesus, this is it. People around us are feeling desperate. How can we help? How can we put aside our own frustrations with the pandemic and reach out to the people around us in a safe way? Start talking about it with your family and friends. How can I do this?

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Our song for today is Humble King by Vineyard Worship’

One Reply to “September 30 – Who’s Better – Me or You?”

  1. Often Audrey I wonder why God had me go on mission trips. I agree that it was in meeting others and learning of their lives. Being welcomed to their humble abodes. Sharing love with them. I think fondly of those I met. They have made me a better person, content and joyful in my lot in life.

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