Circumstances may cause us to lose our joy, but people can also bring trials that rob us of joy. How many times do we lose our peace and joy because of what people say or do. The best remedy for these trials is the submissive mind, the humble mind that seeks only to honor Christ. Pride is the cause of much unrest and contention (read James 4), but humility brings peace and joy. We could try to learn this the hard way by experience, or we could choose to learn the easy way’ – from the example of others. In Philippians 2, Paul gives four examples for us to follow so that we may achieve the submissive mind (this post contains the first).
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The Example of CHRIST (2:1–11)
There is the suggestion in this passage of disunity in the Philippian church (see also 4:1–3). Paul appeals to them on the basis of their Christian experience to have unity of mind and heart and to put others ahead of themselves.
A. The Person of Christ (vv. 5-7).
What motives are there for unity in the church? Christ is the greatest incentive; if we are in Christ, we ought to be able to live with one another! Other incentives include love, the fellowship of the Spirit, the deep-seated desires we have in Christ, and the joy we can bring to others. Paul saw strife and selfish ambition among the Roman believers (1:14– 17), and he warns that it must not be present at Philippi. “Lowliness of mind”— this is the submissive mind that thinks not of itself but of Christ and others.
“Humility is not thinking poorly of ourselves;
it is just not thinking of ourselves at all.”
B. The Passion of Christ (v. 8).
Paul points to the attitude of Christ before His incarnation. Was He selfishly trying to hold on to His privileges as God? No! He willingly laid aside His glory and “put on” the form of a servant. He did not cease to be God, but He did lay aside His glory and the independent use of His attributes as God. His life as the God-Man on earth was completely subjected to the Father. “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). Jesus humbled Himself to become flesh, and then to become sin as He willingly went to the cross.
C. The Position of Christ (v. 8).
But Christ’s experience proves that exaltation always follows humiliation. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,” promises 1 Peter 5:6. The person who exalts himself will be humbled (Luke 14:11). Remember what happened to Pharaoh, King Saul, Nebuchadnezzar, Haman, and Herod? We do not worship a “babe in a manger” or a “sacrifice on a cross”; we worship an exalted Lord seated on the throne of the universe.
Christ’s life, death, and resurrection proved eternally that the way to be exalted is to be humbled before God. There is no joy or peace in pride and self-seeking. When we have the submissive mind that Christ had, then we will have the joy and peace that He alone can give.
1) Chapter 2 presents the joy-stealer of relationships (people).
Which relationships get your joy the fastest? Why is that?
- 2) Because they’re all true, substitute ‘since’ into all the places of ‘if’ in verse one.These are the 4 foundations of the rest of the chapter. What is Paul appealing for us to do (see verse 2)?
- 3) Paul’s plea is for us to have a submissive mind? How is this linked to this chapter’s joy-stealer? What makes having a submissive mind so difficult?
- 4) What are the four facets of humility according to v3-5?- Do nothing that causes _____________ or self-____________ – In humility, esteem others ____________ than self
– Care about other’s interests as much / more than my own
– Follow the example of _______________
5) The ‘mind of Christ’ is the submissive mind. Each verse (6-8) teaches a different lesson that we can learn the easy way (by example):
6) Verses 10-11 exalts the name and position of Christ, but it also tells us that everyone will learn humility eventually.
On a scale of 1-10 where are you in learning humility?
7) What is the main take-away for you out of this lesson?