Philippians 4:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
As a boy, I remember at times playing with strong magnets. It was mesmerizing seeing the strong attraction of the items come together in a split second. Often, I would work different scenarios testing the magnet's strength, seeing what “obstacles” the magnets could overcome to be joined together. In all honesty, I still do this as an adult whenever I come across strong magnets.
This imagery of magnets comes to mind when I read this verse of Philippians 4:3. Like strong magnets, our tendency as sinners is to pull us toward that which is selfish or in vain. Because of our sin nature, this is our natural pull. We tend to go toward what pleases our own flesh and desires. We are drawn to what we want, when we want it.
The verse also gives an opposite mindset to our selfish ambition and vain conceit… and that is to think of others higher than ourselves. The encouragement is to think of the needs of others! Regardless of how you feel, think of how to serve those around you. This verse puts it very clearly. You are lowly and the other person is higher. Other people’s needs are of a greater priority than our own. This is emphasized in many places in the Scriptures as well. Think of others above yourself.
Later on in Philippians 2, the apostle Paul will draw our minds to the person of Christ, who is the ultimate example of someone putting others needs above our own. Jesus definitely lowered himself. He took on flesh, lived among us, and died on the cross for our sins. What an example!
In summary, resist the urge of selfish ambition and vain conceit. Like a magnetic pull, our hearts will be drawn to what we want. Instead, think of the example of Christ and how He puts others above himself.
Tony Myers is a fiction author and speaker. He and his wife, Charity, live in Waterloo, IA with their four children. He has studied Theology, Philosophy, and Biblical languages at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Emmaus Bible College. For more information visit his website at www.tonymyers.net or follow him on Twitter: @tony1myers