The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), December 10
Like slices of bread, two commands sandwich Paul’s description of Christ’s humility:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil. 2:3).
“Do all things without complaining or disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (2:14-15).
Paul describes the humility of Christ and teaches believers that self-seeking, self-admiration, complaining, and arguing are the opposite of Christ-likeness. They are symptoms of pride.
- Complaining – Not once throughout the Gospels did Christ complain about the path which His Father had chosen for Him. Crowds demanded His time and resources. Pharisees and others unjustly accused Him. The cross demanded His life, and he drank fully from that cup. He gave Himself freely.
- Self-admiration – Christ did not consider equality with God something to which He must cling, but He took on the “form of a bondservant” (2:6-7). The King of the universe didn’t come as an heir of a noble and wealthy family, but as the son of a carpenter. He who spoke the world into existence with a spoken word, hit his thumb with a hammer as he constructed furniture. Christ came not to be served, but to serve and lay down His life for others.
- Self-seeking – Christ, though “being in the form of God” (2:6), took on human likeness. He entered this world, “under the radar” through the womb of a woman and a barn. Think of it! The Creator of humanity confined Himself to the body of a newborn baby whose diaper had to be changed. No limos, no advanced public relation team, no penthouse suite welcomed the Son of God. Just a barn.
- Arguing – Christ “became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (2:8). Those who argue or wrangle with others feel that they must prove their position; Christ had nothing to prove. He was always authentically Himself. Knowledge wasn’t a path to to personal validation or position; therefore, Christ never argued with anyone. He did not come to argue a position, but to take a position.
Every behavior is driven by pride or by humility. The proud attitude and the humble attitude always produce a corresponding behavior. Proud people have something to prove; humble people do not. He who had the most about which to boast did not; He who had the most to give up did so without complaining or self-seeking. It is not surprising, then, that Paul says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (2:5).
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Philemon; Philippians 1:1-2:11):
Describe Paul’s attitude toward his imprisonment. How does the Lord use this time of imprisonment for the furtherance of the Gospel? What does this reveal about a believer’s circumstances?