Pastor Scott Hansen
For this morning’s exhortation, I want to turn our attention to Philippians 2:3, which says: "do nothing out selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves". The insidious part of selfishness and conceit is that they are very difficult to diagnose on the outside, but on the inside, they turn our heart away from Jesus, away from brotherly love, and squarely on ourselves. In our day and age, the message we hear is that success confers meaning and we need to strive to get ahead no matter the cost. We are told to look after number one. There is no warning label that comes with this message to beware of the conceited perspective that this selfish approach to life will bring. But as the life of Jesus and this word from Paul teach us, we ought to be humble, not puffed up with pride, and count others as more significant than ourselves.
As Christians, we shouldn’t presume that we are any greater than Jesus who humbled Himself by taking on flesh, coming not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. The only human to ever live that would be worthy of self-exaltation instead chose to associate with children, lepers, and sinners. Jesus was categorically more righteous and more holy than anyone he interacted with during His life, but the accusations against Him weren’t that He looked down His nose at them, but that He associated with them and even ate with them! If you want a definition for humility, all you must do is look at the life of Jesus.
When I think about what that looks like, I find it helpful to imagine myself standing in front of a mirror. With the mirror facing me, all I can see, and all my focus is on myself without a thought given to anyone else. To count others as more significant than yourself means to flip that mirror around so that our concern is outwardly focused on others, not trapped in the orbit of our own ego and pride. It is finding ways to serve, elevating the needs of others above your own. It is showing hospitality. Instead of self-exaltation, we look for ways to honor one another. My exhortation this morning is the same as Paul’s. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.