Paul wants the Philippians to continue to serve Jesus “whether I come see you or am absent”(Phil 1:27) and so he urges them toward unity. He wants them to be “of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind”(Phil 2:2). There is one great enemy to this unity: the selfishness that dogs all of us. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others”(Phil 2:3-4). Our own selfish ambitions tear us away from others; thoughtful service unites us.
It is Jesus himself who teaches us this renunciation of selfish ambition. Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”(Phil 2:6-8). Jesus did not regard his divine privileges as something he would not give up. He emptied himself of his own will and became fully obedient to the will of God and the needs of men, to the point of death. It is after he humbles himself that God highly exalts him (Phil 2:9). If Jesus can give up so much, I can give up my petty desires and ambitions. I must follow Jesus in humility.
Being a disciple of Jesus must mean more than simply signing up for a new set of beliefs and thoughts. If Jesus is to have any impact on my life, I must become more like him. I must allow the needs of others and the will of my Father to be what controls my actions, dreams, and thoughts.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Do I feel others’ needs and interests as keenly as my own?
One Thing to Pray For: The faith to relinquish my ambitions and seek for God to exalt me