There is a passage of scripture that has convicted me, numerous times, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross,” (Philippians 2:3-8, ESV).
This command from the Apostle Paul is challenging.
In his commentary on Philippians, John Calvin called “selfish ambition” and “conceit” the “two most dangerous pests” that disturb the peace of the church (and not just the church).
The remedy? Humility.
“(H)e brings forward one remedy — humility, and with good reason, for it is the mother of moderation, the effect of which is that, yielding up our own right, we give the preference to others, and are not easily thrown into agitation,” Calvin wrote.
But we so do not want to do that do we? This concept goes against our very nature. Calvin noted that doing this is harder than almost anything asked of us, which is why humility is a rare virtue.
The only person who did this perfectly the Apostle Paul used as an example – Jesus Christ himself.
Jesus is God. He became a man.
He deserved royal treatment. He came in the form of a servant.
He deserved to be praised. He was crucified instead.
He put his Father’s will and our desperate need for salvation first.
If anyone deserved to consider himself higher than those around him, it would be Jesus. Yet, he did not.
This passage certainly speaks to our current situation, on every side. I’ll tell you; I fail at doing this consistently, miserably so. How about you?
What would it look like if followers of Christ all consistently counted others as more significant than ourselves during this pandemic?
Let’s ask God where in our lives and attitudes we need to start and ask for his help doing just that.