Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 2:3

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

2:3   Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

As we are venturing through chapter 2, we have come across Paul’s gentle appeal for unity within the church. This unity, in our last post spoke of the inner mind that the believer was to exercise toward others, and that mind, I suggested was found in the Son of God, for His mind is the only mind that is of any pure intent to attain this unity.

In this verse, Paul brings to the surface the characteristics of a believer that will destroy this unity he seeks to guide us into.

Selfish Ambition

We all know what selfishness is, and when coupled with ambition, we find it begins to describe a believer who is putting oneself forward, describing a believer who wants to be in charge, to lead, to be visible, to gain honor. Paul condemns this attitude, for it is the very heart of pride, seeking to elevate oneself over others – for their sake of course! Justifications may be found for each of us in our efforts to be seen, but Paul speaks against this desire. To exhibit selfish desire is to be contentions, spreading strife and competition.


This term also speaks of pride, and carries with it the concept of a groundless self esteem. A self esteem teaching ran rampant through the American church a few decades back, and many still find justification in the Word for this self love. I understand this teaching to be destructive for the Body, and flies in the face of Paul’s admonition to exercise a sacrificial self giving love.

Paul touches the heart of this admonition in Philippians when he speaks of humility. This is Paul’s core intent in all of this teaching, in that he seeks the church to exercise humility towards others.

We are actually to consider others more significant than ourselves! (How does that fit with the self esteem teaching?)

Nevertheless, this is a tall order for the believer, impossible for those who do not connect with the One mind in daily prayer, meditation and searching of the Bible, seeking to know His will in specific areas of our lives. We need to understand these guiding principles, such as rejecting selfish ambition and conceit, and to elevate others in our thoughts for the sake of unity. As soon as we consider someone to be less important that us, we can easily dismiss them, and begin to ride the self conceit train to the next contentious argument or debate.

Such a horrible way to live! Humility of mind and heart towards others is the path to peace and unity. If you are experiencing some strife in your relationships, seek to exercise a humility towards them, asking for forgiveness for any real (or perceived) offences they may be harboring.

Be the leader, and humble yourself!

Follow Considering the Bible on

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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