Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others
But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known…This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
The terms that Paul uses in the above text are an indication of what was happening in the church at Philippi. He also communicates the remedy to the problem that they were experiencing. Pride is part of our sinful nature. In our performance-driven culture, we are taught that we are responsible for our own successes and failures in life. Therefore, when we succeed in life, it is because of our own efforts. This mindset is the first step on the journey toward the great fall of pride. Pride causes us to elevate our own worth or value over others’. This journey gives us a distorted view of ourselves, others, and God. Paul is challenging the believers at Philippi to embrace humility as the norm rather than the exception.
So how do we escape this worldly mindset of pride and embrace the biblical concept of humility? First, we must recognize that we all suffer from this universal problem of pride. In Scripture, we are instructed to “confess and repent” of our sins. Most of the time, this is a daily process! To repent means “to change directions.” It is one thing to confess the sin of pride, but we are told to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Since pride comes from an improper view of ourselves, we must look into God’s Word to understand how we ought to view ourselves.
Second, we must learn to see ourselves from God’s perspective. According to Scripture, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The prophet Isaiah wrote, “all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” Because of our sinful nature, our righteousness falls completely short of God’s perfect holiness. As a believer, I am seen as righteous because of Christ’s righteousness, not because I have somehow obtained right standing with God through self-effort. I am simply a sinner saved by the grace of God.
Lastly, we must see others “as better than yourselves.” We are to keep our own failures and inadequacies in view when we are viewing others. This is how we stay in a continual state of humility before God and man. This is why Paul wrote, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment” Romans 12:3.
Questions to Ponder
Do you think of yourself more highly than you should? How will you respond to Paul’s challenge to embrace a mindset of humility? Do you struggle with pride? What does it mean to be in “right standing” with God? Have these passages challenged you on how you view yourself before a holy God?
Spend some time in prayer meditating on what God revealed to you today.