Verse of the Day Devotion: Philippians 2:3
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3
Paul in this section, and especially in our focus verse is addressing something that was prolific within the church and thereby being the reason he mentions it; this being pride which ultimately leads to division. In our focus verse, Paul tells the Church in Philippi not to do anything for the purpose of lifting themselves up and being conceited. He then continues in the next verse with, “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4. They were to be focused on meeting the needs of those who they taught and discipled, and not on their own interests. And they were not to be in competition with the others who taught in the church.
This was said in order not to have division within the body. This is a very important idea, for I have seen so many churches today who have found themselves in this situation. Division comes when different ideas are taught in the church and the teachers attempt to get the church to agree wholeheartedly with their belief. This causes splits in the church which can cause arguing and competition. Nothing is to be done through strife. And we should never allow the church to be separated into sects that then work against each other in order to become more popular and influential than any other.
And this is not healthy for the church. This can cause churches to split and may cause many to drift away because of the dissention caused by the split. This is not what God wants in the church. Paul writes to the Church in Corinth the following regarding unity, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10. Paul is saying the church needs to be in unity, and when I say church, I mean not just individual churches but also the church corporate. Unfortunately, the enemy has creeped into the Church and has divided the people, often through differences of beliefs. I have attended a church where some believed in the doctrine of Calvinism which states God has selected some people to be saved and others not to be. And it is not their choice, for God has predestined some to salvation, while the rest cannot be saved. Others would speak against this doctrine declaring it to be heretical. Unfortunately, these differences would be discussed in Bibles Studies which caused confusion in the class and caused new believers to question their decision.
He then tells the Church “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5. We need to take on this attitude as well. Christ labored to promote no separate interest; as man he studied to promote the glory of God, and the welfare and salvation of the human race. He ministered in humility, focusing on the Father and His purpose. This was His focus and it should be ours as well. “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8. This is the way that Christ spread the good news here on earth. He did not consider, as a man, equality with God something to be grasped. Instead, He emptied Himself, being humble and obedient to the point of death, where He gave His life to give everyone the opportunity to be saved. This is the Son of God who knew no sin but died for ours. In essence, He put us ahead of Himself. This is true love He and the Father had for us.
As He humbled Himself to serve us, we should humble ourselves to serve others. This is our calling and our purpose here. We must humbly witness to the lost and in training the saved, not looking at how we can look good and impress others, but how we can put other’s interests and needs above our own. When we do this, we will do the work God just as Christ did. And we will be amazed at how God will work through us to do His good pleasure.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.