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Philippians 2:3 – Avoid Self-Esteem, Esteem Others

Philippians 2:3

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.


Today pur focus will be on this powerful admonition contained in Philippians 2:3. First and foremost, let us focus on the first part of the verse, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory." Strife and vainglory can be seen as synonyms for discord and pride. The Holy Scripture advises us not to undertake any action, not to say any word that could potentially incite strife or reflect our own pride or ego. Our actions and words should never be driven by the hunger for power, recognition, or selfish ambitions. Instead, they should always spring from a place of love, humility, and service to both God and our fellow human beings.


The scripture further instructs us in the latter half of the verse to "in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." It is a divine directive for us to adopt an attitude of humility and selflessness. Contrary to the voices in our world that tell us to look out primarily for ourselves, our faith calls us to value others over ourselves. This is not an instruction to devalue our worth but rather an invitation to recognize and appreciate the inherent worth of others.


In practical terms, this translates to listening more than speaking, understanding more than being understood, and loving more than being loved. It means acknowledging that we do not have a monopoly on knowledge or virtue, and that every person, no matter their background or circumstances, has something valuable to teach us. Above all, we should avoid putting down others in order to lift ourselves up: listen to people with differing opinions and consider their views could actually be more valid than our own, rather than always fighting your view, to prove them wrong.


As we seek to embrace this divine wisdom, it is important for us to check the motivation behind our actions. Are we driven by love or by selfish ambition? By humility or by pride? By a desire to serve others or to be served? As we delve into these words, we may ask ourselves, why humility? What does it mean to value others above ourselves, and how does this shape our Christian walk?


Humility, dear friends, is not about self-deprecation or denying our worth. True humility is recognizing the divine image in each of us and choosing to honour that sacred spark in others as much as, if not more than, ourselves. It is to emulate our Lord Jesus Christ, who, despite being in the form of God, "did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Philippians 2:6).


When Paul urges us to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, he challenges us to confront the human tendency to exalt ourselves, often at the expense of others. In our race to be first, we sometimes lose sight of the Christ-like virtue of putting others first. We forget that in the Kingdom of God, the first shall be last, and the last, first (Mark 10:31). As believers, we are called to live a countercultural lifestyle that goes against the grain of a world that extols self-promotion. Instead, we are to embody an attitude of selfless serving, of valuing others above ourselves.


But how do we start? We can begin by recognizing the inherent value in everyone we meet. Each person—no matter their background, their past, their successes or their failures—is a beloved child of God. Brethren, what a gamechanger it would be if we started treating each other as such!


From here, we can carry forward this spirit of humility in the small acts we do every day. Let us offer our time, our understanding, and our unconditional love to the people around us. Let us listen more, affirm more, and be present more in the lives of others. Keep in mind, this is no easy task. Living with humility requires courage, patience, and an overflowing love. But know you are not alone. As we pursue this journey of humility, we have the perfect example in Christ Jesus, and the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit.


In our daily conduct, let us remember to carry this spirit of humility and selfless service. Whether you are a posting or commenting, in agreement or offended, esteem others better than yourselves. Let our actions emanate not from strife or vainglory, but from a pure heart and a lowly mindset. The church should be a place where love, respect, and humility prevail.


In conclusion, dear friends, let us strive to imbibe these virtues, these divine exhortations into our lives. It may be challenging, but remember that with God, all things are possible. We have been given the perfect example in Jesus Christ, who, though being God, humbled Himself to take the form of a servant. Let us seek His grace to help us as we aspire to walk in His footsteps.