Philippians 2:3 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."
If you really take the time to analyze this verse..it is full of conviction. The key words in this verse (in my opinion) are NOTHING, SELFISH AMBITION, VAIN CONCEIT, and LOWLINESS OF MIND. These are the words that really bring conviction to my life. I think when you grow up in church and in a Christian home, it becomes easy to just gloss over the scriptures, and think..."yep, that's nice", or "I could probably do better on that...starting tomorrow". Something I have been convicted about recently, is serious study and meditation on the scriptures. To really let it sink in to my core. It's a scary thing, because it's when we do this that the genuine conviction occurs, and we KNOW that we need to repent. Repentance isn't fun...our human nature has wired us to not want to admit our mistakes.
So, as I analyze this verse, and look to truly study what God is telling me here....it certainly brings its conviction!
First we look at the premise of SELFISH AMBITION and VAIN CONCEIT. What does that mean exactly. I pull out my trusty Websters 1828 dictionary (the only one I trust for true original meanings), and I see that SELFISH means: "regarding one's own interest chiefly or solely; influenced in actions by a view to private advantage. AMBITION means: to go about or seek by making interest. The word ambition has its origin in the practice of a Roman candidate for office who went about the city to solicit votes. So we see that selfish ambition together means to go around seeking your own interest chiefly or solely, acting out your own private advantage.
VAIN means: empty, worthless, having no substance or value, fruitless, inefectual, proud of pretty things, or of trifiling attainments, elated with a high opinion of ones accomplishments or with things more showy than valuable., unreal , showy, unsatisfying, False. CONCEIT means: That which is conceived, imagined, or formed in the mind, idea thought image. Understanding, power or faculty of conceiving, apprehension. Opinion, notion, fancy, imagination, Pleasant, gayety of imagination. A striking thought; affected or unnatural conception. Favorable or self flattering opinion.
So, VAIN CONCEIT means: Any empty, worthless, fruitless, inefectual, high opinionated of yourself, unreal, showy, or unsatisfying thought formed in your mind, imagination, understanding, apprehension, opinion, notion, or fancy.
Now, God is telling us that we should do NOTHING out of these two things. What does NOTHING mean? Well....it means nothing...not one thing, not anything. That is easy to gloss over, but it really means absolutely nothing. Nothing includes well....anything you can think of. It includes going to church, it includes washing the dishes, it includes buying gifts, giving to others, blogging (ouch right), homeschooling, reading, training our children, watching tv, playing video games, making a sandwhich....etc...etc. I could obviously go on and on about what it means to not do anything with VAIN AMBITION or SELFISH CONCEIT, but I think you get the idea...as did I when I was studying this further.
Now, God doesn't ever leave us hanging with the negative...what does he tell us to do. Do everything with LOWLINESS OF MIND, and esteem others better then ourselves. LOWLINESS means: Freedom from pride, humility, humbleness of mind. Now, I would love to go on with this and share with you the definitions of humility, but I will let you do that on your own. So, HUMILITY OF MIND, a mind FREE from PRIDEFUL thoughts is what God wants us to replace this vain ambition of selfish conceit with.
WOW...this is quite a thing God asks us to do here. EVERYTHING we do should be for His sake, and the sake of others. We should do nothing for our own sake, with our own AMBITION in mind. Our minds should be cleansed from pride and selfishness, as should our actions.
Is this even possible? I think it is! We can do all things through Christ, when He lives in us. It is a daily choice that has to be made, to allow His Spirit to bring this out in us. It's something that I have a long way to go in...but I will definitely be contemplating the ways that I can grow in this area.
I would love to hear any further thoughts on this verse, and how to work towards applying them to our lives.
Join Megan for more In His Word Wednesday, and my prayer request for the day is to be able to more affective in living out this command from my Lord! Help me to be all that you want me to be Lord...not for myself, and my own furtherence, but only for Your Glory...AMEN!!