“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Philippians 2:3 NASB
Kids are great! Things that we take for granted are occasions for awe and wonder for them. And their perspectives are often convictingly right on.
Take, for instance, the little girl who loved watching the planes that took off from a nearby airport as she played in her backyard. From her point of view, planes literally got smaller and smaller the farther they flew away. Which explains the strange thing she said to her dad after he decided to take her on a business trip. Soon after taking off, she turned to her dad and said, “Daddy, are we small yet?”
That’s a really important—and challenging—question to ask ourselves. There is something about us that doesn’t like feeling small. It starts early. Any kid worth his salt will gladly throw up his arms and do the “so big!” routine when you ask him, “How big are you?” We may stop throwing up our arms, but we never really grow out of wanting to be “so big” in other people’s eyes. It’s amazing how quickly life gets to be all about who’s got the nicest house, the best job, the coolest car, the highest degree, the biggest diamond, or the best office on the executive floor. We are quick to defend ourselves to keep ourselves looking good. We like to draw attention to our accomplishments and turn conversations to focus on us, and we find ourselves a little put out when we are not noticed or invited to hang out with the “in” crowd.
For most of us, life is about anything but making ourselves small. We are the tall “I” in the middle of our universe.
And that’s a problem.
In Philippians 2:3-11, Paul tells us that we need to stop living to advance ourselves and our own interests and instead start considering others as more important than ourselves. In fact, he says that we should do nothing from “empty conceit”—which literally means the puffing up of our nothingness. I love the graphic picture in that thought. No matter how big you puff up a zero, it’s still a zero!
And then he points us to Jesus who didn’t consider his “big” standing in heaven a thing to hang on to, but rather He humbled himself to care for our interests by becoming obedient to death on the cross. Think of that! Jesus thought of us and our needs as being more important than His own! He made himself small that we by His abundant mercy might become big in the riches of His grace.
Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus!
Are you small yet?
- What would it take for you to have the mind of Jesus by being more concerned about others’ needs and interests than your own? Who could be an object of this change in your life?
- Read 1 Peter 5:5-7 and honestly ask yourself if there is pride in your life. What does God think of proud people?
- What are some ways that you can humble yourself? Are you willing to wait for Him to exalt you?