In Philippines 2, we find one of the most powerful teachings on humility in all the Bible. Paul calls Christians to humility by stating, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than themselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4-5). This poignant teaching really hits home when Paul then calls Christians to look to the example of Christ as the motivating factor for humility. Though he is God, Jesus did not consider himself equal to God in his fleshy form (v. 6). Instead, Jesus emptied himself by taking on the human form of a servant (v. 7). Jesus showed the ultimate act of humility in his obedience to the will of the Father on the cross (v. 8). Our humility should emulate Christ’s humility!
Paul’s teaching on humility, however, does not end after looking to the example of Jesus. As Philippines 2 continues, Paul prepares the Christians in Philippi to live faithfully in his absence (V. 12), and he provides one more important teaching on the subject humility. And in our society today, this may be the toughest of them all. Paul says, “do all things without grumbling or disputing ..” (Phil. 2:14). It seems that everywhere we look whether it be cable news, social media, work, or school grumbling and disputing are the central themes of most discussions. As in all things however, Christians are called to be different, to stick out from the world. The question is, why did Paul call Christians to live grumble, dispute free lifestyles?
The answer is found in verse 15; “...that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world..” Jesus makes a similar appeal in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Similarly to Paul’s’ day, we are in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. The temptation is for us to fit in with the world, but Scripture implores us to be set apart. The challenge to us this week is, in a world full of grumbling and disputing, let’s shine our lights and emulate Christ’s humility by rising above the world’s negativity and seeking to be the blameless, innocent children God’s Scripture calls us to be.
- Jared Green