Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
The opposite of love is selfishness. Whereas love is the hallmark characteristic of the divine nature; selfishness is the hallmark characteristic of sinful human nature. Self-centeredness takes root in our lives when we value the opinion of people more than the opinion of God. This leads to the common tendency of trying to impress others. Trying to impress others is what the Bible calls the pride of life. In contrast, humility is an attitude that practices the principle of loving your neighbor as yourself.
The phrase (at the end of verse 3), “…thinking of others as better than yourselves,” does not mean I berate myself and put myself down; it means I consider the other person’s point of view instead of just being consumed with my own interests all the time. It’s not “I win, you lose” or “You win, I lose.” It’s a “win-win” attitude that leads to success in the kingdom of God.
The attitude of a kingdom leader is this: I am part of something bigger than myself, and because the world is filled with people, I must take a genuine interest in other people. This attitude is not one of deprivation, but one of service. It’s not what do I have to give up, it’s how many people can I influence in a positive way. This attitude is commonly referred to as servant leadership, and servant leadership is about serving the interests of people.
I taught more on this theme at a recent seminar. This presentation is now available on the audio CD: Leadership in the Kingdom of God
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