Philippians 2: Imitating Christ’s Humility

Webster’s Dictionary defines humility as ‘the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people’, ‘the quality or state of being humble.’ Generation Y can be labelled anything but humble. With the popularity of social media, photo sharing applications like Instagram, and the rise of the infamous selfie, this generation has become obsessed with showing off their lives to a multitude of online viewers, and I, for one, am guilty of falling in to the same trap.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2: 3-4)

Today’s passage is a humbling reminder of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and his ability to lower himself upon the same level as the sinners surrounding him. We are reminded that in our relationships with one another, we should have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, who, ‘being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, but rather, made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness’ (Philippians 2: 6-7). Having been blessed with the opportunity to attend the National Student Leadership Forum at the Australian Parliament House just last week, this extract is hugely reminiscent of the notion of servant leadership – that in leading others, we should put ourselves in the shoes of those below us. In the duration of the Forum, we discussed this very attribute, and the importance of equating ourselves with others with mutual respect. Only through humbling ourselves can we possibly emulate Jesus Christ and his leadership.

It isn’t easy ‘not looking to your own interests but to the interests of others’ (Philippians 2: 4). I have a nasty habit of ‘keeping tabs’ and making sure that I’m getting my fair share. Perhaps it had something to do with growing up with two younger sisters and fighting for the better dishes at the dinner table, being the first to take a shower, or the more comfortable seat in the car. But being a big sister also taught me to look out for the interests of others – protecting my younger sisters from playground bullies at school, and – just today, taking portrait photos of myself with ridiculous facial expressions to help out with an art project. To imitate Christ’s humility I need to constantly value the happiness of other’s over my own, and to pursue unselfish goals.

Most importantly, this has to be done without grumbling, ‘so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ I hope to do so in remembering that we are God’s, and that his love came down to set us free and rescue us. That amount of dedication and love warrants endless gratitude from us as Christians. We are alive because he has freed us from our sin, what more do we have to grumble about? So as I gear up to start serving on the praise team at Church this coming Sunday, I should bear in mind not to grumble about having to wake up 2 hours earlier than other church goers, and dedicate my singing to God with a humble and happy heart.

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