I’ve often said that there’s one passage of Scripture that if I consistently applied it to my life—then everything about how I live would change.
I’ve frequently written that I think the same passage is a primary reason many people find it difficult to follow Jesus—because this passage is so convicting and calls for such radical sacrifice.
I’ve regularly thought that this same passage summarizes my prayer for the ultimate result of my parenting—that my children would choose to live out this one passage.
What’s the passage?
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Imagine if the life and death of Christ—His self-sacrificial giving—were the model we followed every day in every relationship…
- How would we relate differently to others if instead of seeking (demanding) that they encourage us, comfort us, and love us, instead we lived to encourage, comfort, and love others because we already have Christ’s encouragement, comfort, and love?
- How would we relate differently in our homes—with our spouses, parents, and children—if instead of insisting that family members thought like us, we sought to understand, empathize with, and be one with our family members?
- How would we relate differently at work and in church if instead of seeking our own agenda, we did nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves?
- How would we relate differently with our friends and with our “enemies” if instead of looking out for “Number One,” we each looked not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others?
- How would our attitudes toward others change if we maintained the mind of Christ and did not demand equality, but made ourselves nothing, serving others, sacrificing for others, and humbling ourselves before and for others—even to the point of laying down our life for another?
Our flesh objects, “That’s not fair. I’ll only give like that if the other person is willing to give the same amount!”
I’m eternally grateful that Christ did not think like that. If He had, then I’d still be dead in my sins, because He would not have chosen to die for my sins.
It’s Not About Me
I’m “preaching” to myself here. This passage is “eating me for lunch.” That is, it’s convicting me deeply about how self-focused I’ve been instead of being Christ-centered, Christ-like, Christ-empowered, and other-focused.
Through Christ’s power, I want to live like Christ for Christ’s glory.
Through Christ’s power, I want to put others first, just as Christ sacrificed Himself for us.
My Statement of Faith and Practice
Churches and para-church groups create a Statement of Faith and Practice that summarizes what they belief about Christianity and how Christians can reflect Christ as they live the Christian life.
For me, Philippians 2:1-11 has become a summary Personal Statement of Faith and Practice.
In Philippians 2:5-11, I find my statement of faith—an incredible summary of what I believe about Christ’s birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and eternal glory.
In Philippians 2:1-5, I find my statement of practice—a radical summary of how I believe I should live the Christian life through Christ, like Christ, and for Christ as I serve others.
Join the Conversation
How could this one passage—Philippians 2:1-11—change how you live your life and relate to others?