Prepare – Philippians 2:1–11
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 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. In your relationships with one another, 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;
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
For many years, I measured my worth by my achievements. Always racing through life, I graduated a year early from high school, another year early from college, another year early from my first masters, and another year early from my second masters. I started pastoring at 22, working to make a name for myself. While my resumé was widening, my soul was withering.
Jesus lived differently. He worked with His hands in His hometown until His thirties. He did “nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” (2:3). Instead, in humility, “he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” (2:7). After three years of public ministry, instead of taking His rightful place as king, He was “obedient to death—even death on a cross” (2:8). With every step, He put our needs ahead of His own.
The more time I spend with Jesus, the more humbled I am—and, counterintuitively, the more joyful I become. He’s teaching me to slow down and make time to help others with projects and listen to their stories and struggles. I don’t need to be famous. I only need to be faithful to follow the example Jesus set for me. And remember, “God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name” (2:9). God’s reward is greater than this world’s anyway.
JOY is humility: Jesus first, Others second, You third. In humility, value others above yourself. How will you put someone else first today?
~ Pastor Steven Dunkel