Philippians 2:3–4 (NLT) Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.(NIV) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,(G) 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Paul defines humility in Philippians 2.3: “Count others more significant than yourselves.”
Philippians 2:14–15 (NLT) Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
(NIV) Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blamelessand pure, “children of Godwithout fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.
There is a connection between arguing, complaining and pride. If you are proud, you may think you know it all or that you know better than others, and regard yourself as ‘more spiritual’ than most. You may be highly critical of others, or be judgemental towards leaders in the church. On the other hand if you are humble you’ll find less to argue about. We can bring a humble attitude to many areas of our lives e.g. at work and amongst our families.
In every area of life there will always be a few things that you’re not entirely happy about or that you disagree with. Develop the habit of focusing on the good stuff and learning to live with the negatives. We can be like the Israelites in Numbers 11:1: After finally being set free from four hundred years of slavery, many of them started to complain about the food and about Moses’ leadership. Are we like them? We too have been saved, delivered and set free – we shouldn’t spend our time grumbling either!
We need to be like children – but ‘child-like’, rather than simply ‘childish’. Here are some aspects of both:
Child-like: Humble, simple (children don’t tend to over-complicate things), quick to believe, loving and affectionate, open to people and able to make friends easily, reliant on God our Father.
Childish: Prone to throwing temper-tantrums, immature, impatient, and self-centred.
We need to shine God’s light like stars or ‘luminaries’. We can shed His light wherever we go, even in dark places.
Stars also speak of dreams and potential. (Gen 22:7) 17? Be different – dare to have a dream, to stand out and do something big. God wants to activate our potential – success is a godly thing. Faith is the currency that allows us to access the promises God has stored up for us; faith enables us to follow the dreams and visions He gives us.
We may not be able to control many of the circumstances we face, but we do have control over our attitudes, our mindset and our perspective on what comes our way.
Phil 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…v8 who humbled Himself by becoming obedient…
Can you think of any other positive aspects of ‘childlikeness’?
What are some good antidotes to help us complain less?
What can make God’s light shine less brightly in our lives? What can make it shine more brightly?
How can we readjust childish or negative attitudes?