"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Based on Philippians 2:1-3, why do you think Paul cautions church leaders about self-ambition or vain conceit? Why does Paul lift up humility as an antidote to self-ambition and vain conceit?
Paul cautions church leaders about self-ambition or vain conceit to help them avoid the pitfalls of worshiping self over God. The opposite of humility is pride. Scriptures such as Isaiah 2:12 says, “they will be humbled”. Other Scriptures such as Isaiah 23:9; James 4:6; James 4:10; and Proverbs 11:2 all show God’s view of pride. When we begin to have a lot of pride in our life, we begin to worship our standing in the world over the one who controls it all, God. When we have more confidence in our abilities over God’s ability, we are committing the sins of idolatry and blasphemy at the same time. We have all seen what happens to those who become prideful, they are humbled to their proper place and sometimes even lower. Many of those stories happen right in our own backyards, yet ministers continually commit the offense of becoming prideful. Nebuchadnezzar was even humbled by allowing him to go completely insane, even to the point of behaving like an animal. Whatever means is needed to humble us; God is capable of doing it or allowing it to happen. However, we do not have to go through such a painful process if we follow the suggestions of the Scriptures such as Philippians 2:1-3.
Philippians 2:1-3 instructs us to do things “in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” While it may be difficult to place ourselves low and honor everyone else above us, it is spiritually rewarding to do so. Think about the last time you served someone, did it not make you feel better about yourself? Why only do such service on occasion or at our convenience, why not all the time? Matthew 20:16 states, “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” I want to be that few and that last, not just so I can be ahead in the Kingdom of God, but rather so I can worship Christ in Heaven who has done so much for me here. Ephesians 2:9-9 tells us that we are saved by grace in order that we will not brag about our works to earn our ways to heaven; however there is reward for those who can put in the work of the Lord. What we should not do is brag about our accomplishments for the Kingdom, but rather place others ahead of us in roles of praise. Leaders who consistently place those who surround them in high places of praise are well respected, honored, and loved by not only their team, but also Christ himself for their humble deeds.