Our faith is relational. Paul’s heart for the Philippians leaps off the page! “I hold you in my heart” he says, like that E. E. Cummings poem everyone loves. “Standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.” If you’re running this race alone, it’s all wrong.
Chapter 2 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. At different points of my life, I’ve had it all memorized (now it’s probably in pieces). My Sunday School teacher (and bonus father figure growing up), Mark Gosvener, told us that if we could memorize and live out 2:3-4, we would really nail this Christianity thing:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
This has become my anthem in youth ministry as well. If we’re all looking out for only ourselves, there’s just one set of eyes, seeing one perspective. But if a group of 5 people all commit to looking out for each other, they’ve all got 4 sets of eyes covering all angles. This is better, no?
What does this take? HUMILITY. Cue verses 5-11 where we read the best “for example” of all time: Jesus Christ. The Greatest Person Ever, humbled himself to the lowest low–to death–and, there, receives the Highest Title. The Name above every name.
Our reflex is to be proud, self preserving, untrusting, painfully vain (thanks selfie mode), but this must not be our way if we want to live life fully and truly. Only when we grasp this can we begin to wrap our minds around 1:21 “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.
Jesus knew exactly who he was and laid it aside for us. Who are you? What does it look like to lay your life down for others?