The Attitude That Draws God’s Attention
Editor’s Note: Paul’s instruction in this passage and Jesus’ example hold the key to transforming all of your relationships: Christlike humility. James 4 tells us that conflict and arguments come because we covet and envy (Jms 4:2; see also Jms 3:16). When we think of covetousness, we often think of material things, but what about coveting status, or approval, or control? Paul’s instruction that we consider others to be more significant than ourselves and that we look out for the interests of others can change our relationships from the inside-out, beginning with our own motives and perspectives. As C.S. Lewis explained it, “A really humble man…will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”*
The commands in this passage remind us that humility is a choice. We can choose to have the mind of Christ, whose Spirit lives in us who causes us to do – and even to want – what pleases Him (Phil 2:13). Unlike a mere change in outward habits, this mindset begins with how we see ourselves in light of our relationship to God – we are His servants who submit to His will. And we express this submission to God through pouring out our lives to serve others in obedience to Him. This kind of humility draws the attention of the Lord as we look to Him in dependence: “To this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Is 66:2). As you read Philippians 2:3-11, ask the Holy Spirit to make you His humble servant.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2001), 128.