Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 2

Give up selfish ambition

Philippians 2:3

As the king’s son, Jonathan had the right to become Israel’s next king. However, Jonathan knew that God wanted David to be king. So, Jonathan gladly gave honour to David. He even declared that he would support David’s rule over Israel (1 Samuel 23:17).

To do that, Jonathan had to give up any selfish ambitions that he may have had. He could not be jealous of David or proud about his (Jonathan’s) own greatness – and Jonathan truly was a great man (2 Samuel 1:23). Instead, Jonathan chose to show true love to David (1 Samuel 20:17) – in other words, Jonathan sincerely wanted what was best for his friend.

That is what it means to be humble. There is a wrong idea that humble people have to be weak and unimportant. In reality, unimportant people can become proud and selfish, and important people can be kind and humble. We must choose whether to use our strength and our opportunities in life solely for ourselves, or to help other people.

It should be the sincere desire of every Christian to act in love towards other people (Mark 12:31; 1 Corinthians chapter 13).

Christians should always want whatever God considers to be best for the other people in their lives. That attitude should be even stronger than our selfish desire to benefit ourselves.

It caused Paul shock when groups of Christians argued in order to establish their own importance (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). He warned strongly against leaders who cared only to impress people and to gain power for themselves (2 Corinthians 11:12-15). He knew that God wanted him to be humble, and to care for even the weakest people (1 Corinthians 9:19-22).

Next part: Help other people (Philippians 2:4)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.