Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. [Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV]
Growing up, parents and teachers would often admonish us not to think or act like we are better than others. The United States of America’s Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. We do well to take these ideals to heart. Much good has resulted from this way of thinking.
Yet, God expects us to go further than just thinking of others as our equals. He expects us to consider others as better than ourselves, as more important and more valuable. This is how Jesus thought and acted. He took this attitude to its most extreme conclusion, laying down his life in the interest of others’ salvation (Philippians 2:5-8).
Let this mind be in [us] which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5 NKJV),
the change in our attitudes and actions will be dramatic. To state the obvious,
include every person other than our self regardless of age, gender, race, religion,
lifestyle, political persuasion, or any other way we classify people. Imagine the change in
our interactions with others if we considered each person we interact with as better
than ourselves and actively looked for ways to act in their best interest.
If we lay aside our selfish pursuits, humbling ourselves, letting everything be done
in the interests of others at home, in the church and in the world then we will
become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a
crooked and perverse generation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world,
holding fast the word of life (Philippians 2:15-16a NKJV).