Last night, during our Philippians Bible study, we covered the idea of humbleness and obedience to the Lord. God, through His great wisdom, gives us an example of humbleness and obedience in the person of Jesus Christ. He also commands us to humble ourselves and obey Him. Not only does He do these two things, He also gives us a litmus test daily to show if we are humbly obeying Him or not. Now, is an example and a command enough? Let’s find out.
Our passage of examination is Philippians 1:27-2:11. Take a moment to read this passage. Now let’s examine what God has to teach us here.
I. Christ’s Example
Christ’s example is seen in Philippians 2:5-8.
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Christ sets an example for us. He is our example of humbleness and obedience. He shows us the path. Let’s not stop here. Just showing us the path is not enough. Why not? It is not enough because we cannot follow the path. We have a problem. We are enslaved to our sin. Even if we see the right path and want to go down it, we cannot because our master will not let us. What’s the solution? I am so glad that you asked. It has to do with the incarnation of Christ and His death on the cross. In order to understand this, we need to understand the following passage from Hebrews 2:
9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
By becoming flesh, He was able to go to the cross in our place and die the death that we deserved because of our sins. He also rose from the dead breaking sin’s slave grip on us. Showing us the path is not enough. We cannot follow the path because of our slavery to sin. Jesus had to break sin’s grip so that we are able to follow the Lord’s example. Not only to we have the path and the ability, we also need Jesus to walk us down the path.
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew11)
He wants us to join Him and allow Him to carry the load. Jesus is our example. He has paved the way for us to follow His example of humbleness and obedience. He joins us to Himself and walks us down the path of humbleness and obedience. How do I live this out daily?
II. Practical Example
God gives us practical assignments on a daily basis to show us if we are walking in humbleness and obedience. The test comes in the form of the people around us. Philippians 1:26-2:1-4 is the passage. I want to break this up into two parts.
27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents -which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
First, how do you respond to the enemies in your life? All of us have people who do not care much for us, no matter who you are or what you do. In this case, these enemies are because of the Gospel of Christ. How will you respond to them? When attacked, will you respond in humbleness, being obedient to the Lord or will you respond the same way that your opposition treated you? If you have submitted to the Lord, following Christ’s path of humbleness and obedience then this will manifest itself in the way that you treat people who do not like you.Well, how should I respond to my enemies? The passage tells us:
- conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel (treat them with humility while being obedient to God).
- stand firm in the faith
- do not let enemies ruin your relationships
- do not be alarmed by your opponents if they are opponents of the Gospel
Let’s take a look at the second part of this passage.
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
If we are walking in humbleness and obedience then here are the things that we will do for the people whom God has placed in our lives. We will be relationship builders in everything that we do.
- Encourage the people around you.
- Admonish them in love.
- Comfort them in love.
- Have genuine fellowship with others.
- Make yourself vulnerable to others by showing affection to them.
- Be compassionate to others.
- Work hard to maintain love.
- Be united in spirit.
- Continue on in the same purpose.
How are you treating the people around you? Are you humbly seeking to build relationships? Are you doing the above things? Why would you not be able to do these things? There are a few reasons:
- being selfish
- being conceited
- looking out for your own personal interests only
- not looking out for the interests of others
How are you doing on the test of life? Are you building lasting relationships? Are you walking Christ’s path of humbleness and obedience? If you are, then this will be manifested in the way that you treat your enemies and close relationships. May the Lord help us follow the path that Christ has set before us.