This is part of Piper's series on being a 'relational church', where they seek God's "wisdom for our personal priorities and our families and our citizenship in ways that are God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, gospel-fashioned, people-helping. "
For mom's who are tirelessly serving others, it's a great reminder for the SOURCE of our strength!
I invite you to turn with me to Paul’s letter to the Philippians 2:4 ... My prayer is that you will join me in making this your prayer: “Lord, work so deeply in my heart that I am freed from the bondage of self-centeredness and given the disposition to look not only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Looking Out for Others’ Interests
Look at verse 4: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” The word interests is a filler. In the original, it’s open-ended. All that is specified is “your own (something)” or “the other’s (something).” So it could be, “Let each of you look not only to your own financial affairs, or your own property, or your own family, or your own health, or your own reputation, or your own education, or your own success, or your own happiness—don’t just think about that, don’t just have desires about that, don’t just strategize about that, don’t just work toward that; but look to the financial affairs and property and family and health, and reputation, and education, and success, and happiness of others.”
In other words, verse 4 is a way of saying the words of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:39). That is, make the good of others the focus of your interest and strategy and work. Find your joy in making others joyful. If you are watching television and your child says, Would you play with me? don’t just think about how tired you are. By an act of gospel-fashioned, Christ-exalting will, put the child’s interests before the pleasures of your relaxation.
Counting Others as More Significant
One of the keys to this radical way of living is in the second half of verse 3: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Or as the old King James says, “Let each esteem others better than themselves.” The point was not what others are. The point is what you count others to be.
The focus is: Will you count them as worthy of your help and encouragement? Not are they worthy? But will you count them as worthy? Will I take thought not just for my interests but for someone elses? Will I encourage him or her and take the time to help and build him or her up?
Humility and Its Source—The Cross
And where does that other-oriented commitment come from? Verse 3 says, “In humility count others more significant than yourselves.” It comes from humility. Literally: “lowliness.” This is the great opposite of a sense of entitlement. Humility is the opposite of “You owe me.” Paul said, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish” (Romans 1:14). In other words, they didn’t owe him. He owed them.
Why? Why do Christians walk through life feeling a humble sense that we owe service to people, rather than them owing us?
The answer is that Christ loved us and died for us and forgave us and accepted us and justified us and gave us eternal life and made us heirs of the world when he owed us nothing. He treated us as worthy of his service, when we were not worthy of his service. He took thought not only for his own interests but for ours. He counted us as greater than himself: “Who is the greater,” he said, “one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27).
That is where our humility comes from. We feel overwhelmed by God’s grace: bygone grace in the cross and moment-by-moment arriving grace promised for our everlasting future. Christians are stunned into lowliness. Freely you have been served, freely serve.
So the crucial relational mark of the culture of our church should be Philippians 2:4: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This is the “mind” or the “mindset” that we should have in life together. This is the relational atmosphere where God will grant wisdom for the perplexing work of living in this world.