When, in the summer of 1943, he was offered a cooler cell on the second floor of the prison, he refused, knowing that his cell would only be given to someone else. He was immediately offered larger food portions but refused that too, knowing it would have been at the expense of other prisoners. This was the way of life for German pastor and Nazi resistor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He followed Christ’s example of humility, counting others as more significant than himself, to the end of his life.
- Recall a time when someone sacrificed for you so that you could get ahead. Conversely, how have you given up the rights you deserved for the benefit of others?
READ THE WORD: PHILIPPIANS 2:1-11 (ESV)
2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition 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. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 5-11. Verses 1-4 were covered previously.)
- Verse 5 is pivotal, connecting the first four verses with the next five. What is the one command in this passage (vs. 5)? What “mind” is Paul talking about?
- How did Christ actively demonstrate humility (vss. 6-8)?
- What future truths do you see in verses 10-11?
- Where can you choose, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to serve instead of exalting yourself? What difference would a humble attitude make in relation to your family, friends, and co-workers?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus is the definitive model for Christian conduct and action. He is the best example of humble, self-sacrificing servanthood that Paul had urged the Philippians to practice with each other. As believers, our lives are to be attractively different. Counting others as more significant than ourselves is to be a pervasive attitude, coloring all we think and do. We look to Christ’s example of true humility in order to live a life worthy of the gospel.
- Praise and thank God for this amazing portrait of Christ, to whom every knee will one day bow.
- Confess any incidences of pride or self-centered behavior that God brings to your mind.
- Pray and look for opportunities to serve others, asking God to develop within you an attitude of true humility.