Philippians 2:3–4 (ESV)
3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
4 Christian-Like Attitudes
Our passage for today comes from Philippians 2 verses three and four. In this passage, I want you all to see three attitudes that I believe Christians should have and then I will add one more just because I believe it is essential in the effectiveness of the previous three.
Point #1 Attitude of Service
Verse 4 is another way of saying the words of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:39). That is, make the good of others the focus of your interest and strategy and work. Find your joy in making others joyful.
If you are watching television or playing video games and your little brother or sister says, Would you play with me? don’t just think about how tired you are. But be driven by your love in the Lord to put interests of your brother or sister before your pleasures of relaxation.
Point #2 Attitude of Selflessness
One of the keys to this radical way of living is in the second half of verse 3: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves”. Now this might be hard to grasp at first. Say you are an all-state basketball player or you are the valedictorian of your graduating class. It might be hard for you to consider others more significant than yourselves especially in those specific areas.
However, that is not the point. The point was not what others are. The point is what you count others to be. And the focus is not on how they play basketball or do math, or any other skill or trait. The focus is: Will you count them as worthy of your help and encouragement? Not are they worthy? But will you count them as worthy?
Will you serve your teammate? Will you think of them not just for your interests but also for theirs? Will you encourage them and take the time to help them and build them up. Will you stop shooting buckets in the driveway and show interest in them?
Point #3 Attitude of Humility
And where does that other-oriented commitment come from? Verse 3 says, “In humility count others more significant than yourselves.” It comes from humility. This is not putting yourself down or not having a low self-esteem.
However, Humility is the great opposite of a sense of entitlement. Humility is the opposite of “You owe me.” Paul said in Romans 1:14 , “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.” In other words, they did not owe him. He owed them.
Christ loved us and died for us and forgave us and accepted us and justified us and gave us eternal life and made us heirs of the world when he owed us nothing. He treated us as worthy of his service, when we were not worthy of his service. He took thought not only for his own interests but also for ours.
He counted us as greater than himself: Jesus said in Luke 22:27, “Who is the greater one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”
That is where our humility comes from. We feel overwhelmed by God’s grace: Jesus lived a perfect life to die for our sins so that we did not have too. Christians are stunned into Humility. Freely you have been served by God, therefore we freely serve his people.
Point 4 Attitude of Joy
Our final point is that we should have an attitude of Joy. Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy is the state of delight and well-being that results from knowing and serving God. Happiness, however, is a fleeting emotion that is based on circumstances. Joy is the fruit of a right relationship with God. It is not something people can create by their own efforts.
Many people think that God is the great killjoy. Meaning you cannot have fun in this life if you are a Christian. Nothing could be a bigger lie. God himself knows joy and he wants his people to know joy instead of seeking the short-term pleasures of this world. God’s law is not there to keep us from having fun, but it is like the game of baseball, if you do not play by the rules then it would be total chaos and not much fun.
Joy in the Christian life is in direct proportion as believers walk with the Lord. They can rejoice because they are in the Lord. Joy is a fruit of a Spirit-led life. Or in other words, joy is in your life when you are walking with the Lord. Sin in a believer’s life robs the person of joy. When a person walks with the Lord, the person can continue to rejoice even when troubles come. Joy in the Lord enables people to enjoy all that God has given them.
Now it is possible to do the previous 3 points without glorifying God. So our goal is to have joy while having our Christ-like attitudes of service, selflessness, and humility. Since God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him, it gives God more glory when we do acts of service with joy than strictly out of obedience.
I like to think of it like this: Say it was my wife and I’s anniversary and I come home from work and bring her a bouquet of flowers. She answers the door and is surprised and says you should not have. And I respond well it is my duty. I read it in a book and it says good husbands do these things. Now we all know that is ridiculous, right? What I should say is: it is my joy and nothing would make me happier than spending time with you on our anniversary. Now she never in a million years would say, “well your only thinking of yourself, you are so selfish.” Right? She is going to be honored that it is her that makes me happy. Likewise, it is because God first loved and served us is the reason why we are able to love and serve others.
Serving God with joy is the difference between a football player that only goes to practice and only does what the coach tells him. Compared to the player that wakes up thinking about football, gets extra practices in, spends his conversations talking about football, and is excited to be at practices and games. Which one of those players would you want on your team?
My prayer is that you will join me in making this your prayer: “Lord, work so deeply in my heart that I am freed from the bondage of self-centeredness and given the disposition to look not only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others.”