I wish to encourage you in living out the selflessness of Jesus Christ. Most of us are familiar with the apostle Paul’s precise exhortation in Philippians 2:3. As those who have the Spirit of the resurrected Christ living within us, we should do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Obviously, we agree with Paul, and we’re stirred by the supreme example of Christ who emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, …he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death (Php 2:7-8), yet, in our humanness, we struggle to genuinely duplicate this wonderful trait.
Be assured, our Lord does not expect us to become something which He has not equipped us by His Holy Spirit to become. Obviously, He seeks our willing involvement in developing more of Christ into our characters. Remember, the mark of a true Christian, is their growing Christ likeness (2Co 3:18). Following are a few brief pointers which I pray will assist you:
- Do not allow memories of your old self, your old sinful character from before Christ became your Lord, to keep you repeating the same faults. Rather, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead (Php 3:13), we should commit our mind’s resources to becoming Christ like, particularly in regard to humble selflessness.
- Think often of …the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my (your) Lord (Php 3:8a). Remember that when you repented, you happily …suffered the loss of all things (all self-righteous efforts) and count them as rubbish, in order that I (you) may gain Christ (Php 3:8b)
- Remind yourself regularly, that the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit really does enable you to …know Christ and the power of his resurrection… (Php 3:10).
- Be careful that your heart does not deceive you (Jer 17:9) into using selflessness as a means of self-righteousness. Spiritual pride can be terribly seductive and appealing to our human senses.
- Resolve to …hold true to what we (you) have attained (Php 3:16). Set your determination to never step backwards spiritually. On those difficult days, accept that it’s OK to stand still, to stand your ground. But exercise all you dogmatic focus, all your stubbornness, on NOT turning backward.
- Focus your thoughts on your citizenship which is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (Php 3:20). Our Saviour is coming to snatch you and I away from the struggle of this life. He shall take us to be with Himself, to be in our true spiritual home for all eternity.
- Reposition your friendships to enable yourself to join in imitating me (the apostle Paul), and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us (Php 3:17). Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1Co 15:33 NIV).
- Pray, pray, and pray.
Realise that Christ’s selflessness:
- Empowers you to serve others without expecting recognition
- Emboldens your desire to tell the unsaved of Christ
- Invigorates hope in God and Jesus Christ’s return
- Enables forgiveness without retribution
- Empowers desire for sanctification
- Ignites true Christ like love
Serving together: Lincoln Forlong