Valuing Others above Ourselves
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:3-5
When I first heard the words “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others,” I was undone—overcome with guilt. I knew I was often self-absorbed, self-centered, consumed with my own interests. How could I change? How could I become humble?
Paul points to Christ Jesus as the model of humility for us, and reminds us that we are united with Christ and share the same Spirit supernaturally (Philippians 2:1). But humility doesn’t come automatically. We have to set our minds: to choose to do nothing selfishly, to value others above ourselves, and to look to their interests before our own (v. 2:3-5).
Christ, who was in very nature God, “did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage” (v. 6). Christ put others’ interests above His own and took on the nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (v. 7). He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even a criminal’s death on a cross (v. 8).
Furthermore, death was not the end. Christ not only was resurrected, but He was also exalted by God to the highest place and given “the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (vv. 9-10).
Nor is death our end. In Romans 6:4-5, Paul wrote, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” This promise is not just for our future; it is also for living a new life now.
I’m asking God to help me in three areas: to seek the mindset of Christ, to be ambitious for the good of others, in humility valuing them above myself, and to look to others’ interests above my own. Will you ask Him to help you in those areas too?
We also have a model in Paul. In 1 Corinthians 4:14-16, why was Paul able to tell the Corinthians to imitate him? What was his relationship to them?
According to his own testimony in Acts 20:23-24, how did Paul put the needs of others above his own, including being willing to die for them?
See also the devotion on Colossians 3:1-9 about setting our minds and hearts.
Nancy J. Baker