“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, and sharing in the same Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete, be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.” – Philippians 2:1-7
As women, I think that it can be really easy to lose sight of the truth behind this passage. There have been times that I have witnessed competitiveness go on between the women around me and have also felt like women have tried to be competitive with me. I, like everyone else, have also fallen into the trap of comparing myself with other women and perceiving this sense of competitiveness well up within me during my interaction with others. But where does this sense of feeling like we have to “one up” other people really come from? Other than the nature of our sinful depravity, I believe that the root comes from insecurity and a result of not truly embracing and understanding how God sees us as His daughters.
What saddens me is to see this competitiveness alive and well in our churches. Yes, men can be competitive too, but to be honest, I think women care more about what others perceive of them than I think men do most of the time. There is this tendency to see this interaction occur in our small groups or any group in our churches where we really get down to the nitty gritty details of the personal lives of people. We witness victories and struggles that group members have and many times I think this can either lead to putting this unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be what we are not or lead us to have puffed up pride because we do not personally struggle in that area.
Oh, how we are all guilty of letting the temporary and trivial things distract from the bigger picture. Instead of seeing our sister as someone to compete with, let’s embrace the concept that Paul lines out in Philippians. “…be of the same MIND, having the same love, being in full accord and of one MIND. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same MIND be in you that was in Christ Jesus…”
Do you notice how many times Paul emphasizes mind in this passage? I think it was intentional. I think Paul knows that our thinking can get cloudy quickly and it is a part of our battle against the unseen spiritual forces to protect our thoughts. If anything, it is crucial as believers to protect what we let enter into our heads. If we redirect, pray and ask for the Lord’s help in the process; He can refocus us and produce joy instead of the comparison that always steals it.
It is then that we can count on God bringing out the conviction in us to get humble fast and get started right away with what He commands us to do – look out for others first and get to serving because the sharing the gospel in word and deed is what is truly important at the end of the day.
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.” If our walk with the Lord is concentrated on Christ, we will exemplify Christ’s attitude and ways in our lives. We may not live perfectly by any means, but competitiveness will not be something we will want to hold onto. The beauty of Christ is that when we are made complete in Him, He can cut off those thoughts and ways that want to keep us in bondage to sin.
Praise God that He is the one who can defeat that depravity in our lives!