Selfishness and the mind of Christ

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.
Philippians 2:1-16

This passage addresses selfishness and the “I’m more important than you” attitude.

Because Jesus put himself last to benefit others, so also should we put ourselves last to benefit others.

Christ lived a life, not for himself, but for others. Even though he was equal with God (v6), he humbled himself and became a servant (v7-8). Even though the Lord Jesus Christ is above all and every knee will bow before him (v9-10), he lowered himself to that of a humble servant (v8). In fact, he humbled himself to the point that he laid down his life for those who should be serving him.

  1. Even though Christ is God and is the one who should be obeyed, he humbled himself and became obedient to death vv. 6-8.
    • if Christ – who is God – can humble himself, we who are even lower than angels should humble ourselves
  2. Christ did not have to exalt himself. When Christ humbled himself, God exalted him vv.9-11.
    • don’t exalt your own self – see Luke 14:7-11
  3. God is the one who works in us to do his will, so we should humble ourselves and become obedient to him v 13.
    • don’t take credit for the good you do – it is all of God Eph 2:10
    • we cannot do a great work for God, but God can do a great work through us.

Things that get in the way:

  1. strife (pride = self importance) v. 3
    • Only by pride cometh contention (Proverbs 13:10) – contention = strife
  2. vainglory (self-glory) v. 3
    • For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Cor 6:20) – we should bring glory to God, not ourselves
    • It is not I, but Christ that liveth in me (Galatians 2:20)
  3. self-esteem v. 3
  4. selfishness v. 4

When we have the mind of Christ:

  1. We are consoled in Christ v. 1
    • Because he defeated even death, we have no enemies that can conquer us.
    • It is a great consolation to know that death has no sting. I Cor 15:55-57
  2. We are comforted with love v. 1
    • God is love I John 4:8
  3. We have spiritual fellowship v. 1
  4. We have compassion and mercy on others v. 1
  5. We will be blameless v. 15
  6. We will cause no harm to others v. 15
  7. We will be without rebuke – even though we live in a wicked world v. 15
    • no one will be able to bring a charge against us Romans 8 who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect…

Examples:

  1. Holding doors for others.
  2. Giving money to help others instead of spending it on yourself.
  3. Cleaning up after yourself so someone else doesn’t have to clean up your mess.
  4. Sharing.
  5. Letting others go before you – whether it be in a line, or a turn at a game, or whatever.
  6. Putting things back where they belong so the next person who needs it can find it.
  7. Showing up early or on time – this says the time of the person you are meeting is more important than your own.
  8. Seeing something that needs to be done and doing it even if it isn’t your job or turn to do it.
  9. Not fighting about seats in the car.

Most importantly, having the mind of Christ allows us to shine as lights in this wicked world so that others will see the word of life and turn to Christ. When we murmur, complain, bicker, or fight when we don’t get our way and have to yield to someone else, we are showing forth ourselves instead of Christ.

When we esteem others before ourselves and do so without murmuring and disputing, we are holding forth the word of life – showing a testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ and how he esteemed us better than even his own life. I pray that each of us will be such a testimony.

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