Week 4 Philippians 2:1-4 // A Christ-shaped Mind - Matt Carvel

Teaching text

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being 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 count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others


In this passage Paul is telling the Philippians to not be selfish but look out for the interests of others. This is something that our culture would view as a good thing: doing good to others. However, Paul is talking about something more radical than just doing something nice for someone else. He is talking about showing love like Jesus, preferring others in everything that He did.In the individualistic society that we live in, other people’s wants and needs tend to be secondary to our own. In many ways we are self-sufficient with everyone looking out for themselves. But Paul encourages christians that we should be living in unity with one another because we were made to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We should be supporting and caring for each other’s needs, being together rather than separated, and showing selfless love to those around us. In doing this we become more like Jesus who spent time with others, befriending them, serving them and ultimately giving His life for them.The true christian life is selfless, looking out for the interests of others - our primary call in life is to love and serve the people that God has placed around us and to be a blessing to them. When we stop focusing so much on our own desires but start giving ourselves to others, we can experience contentment and joy.Even secular philosophers agree that Jesus’ teaching that ‘it is better to give than to receive’ is verifiably correct, however, we are often robbed of this joy by our sense of entitlement. We can sometimes think “if I am selfless now, I can be selfish later”, or “if I do someone a favour, they’ll owe me one in return”. This is not how Jesus lived. Serving isn’t transactional, it is a demonstration of love. We can show love to people who treat us badly because that is what Jesus did. Despite our sin and disobedience to Him, Jesus still chose to take our place and die on the cross in the ultimate display of love. Therefore, we can follow His example with the understanding that, if we don’t receive the same love in return from others, we have already received it from Christ.

  1. Live in community rather than isolating yourself. Spend time with others like Jesus did.
  2. Selflessly serve those that God has put around you and put others’ needs before your own.
  3. Live in the knowledge of what Christ has done for you and the love He has shown you, despite what you deserve and let this steer your attitude towards loving others.

Discussion Questions

  1. Are you a morning person??
  2. Who is your community? What is the balance between Christian and non-Christian community in your life?
  3. How do you think we can serve others without letting others take advantage of us?
  4. How does the Gospel actually help when we feel entitled/bitter/resentful/selfish (which robs us of joy)?