Esteeming Others Better Than Ourselves
What Does It Look Like?
“I am not a Bible-believing Christian in the fullest sense simply by believing the right doctrines, but as I live in practice in this supernatural world.” (Francis Shaeffer, True Spirituality)
One of the Biblical exhortations I find the most challenging for me is the instruction to “in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil. 2:3). This instruction is for Christians in relation to others in the church. I often ponder what should that “esteeming others highly “looks like in practice?
Going to my handy dandy online English dictionary, I look up the word esteem. “Esteem: To set a high value on: to regard highly and prize accordingly”.
Next, I go to my favorite Greek Dictionary by Spiros Zodhiates. The Greek word hegeomai :“To hold or esteem in a particular light.” So I look in my Bible, which sheds light on what my Greek dictionary says, meaning we each should regard my brothers and sisters as better than ourselves.
I realize I just don’t know how to regard all as better than myself. (Maybe some, but not all.) I ask, “How Lord?”
The Christians at my church have:
• Different cultures
• Different parenting styles
• Different life experiences
• Different convictions
• Different I.Q.s
• Different personality types
• Differing levels of Biblical knowledge
• Different levels of spirituality
• Different levels of discipleship
My natural mind thinks I’m doing better than some Christians. My mind tells me that I think sister or brother so-and-so has a few things to learn. In a flash I remember that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6). That is a warning to me that I need to work on the “lowliness of mind” part. Reading in Philippians chapter two, I find clues about how my attitude should affect my actions.
Paul gives us four examples of the submissive mind: The Lord Jesus Christ, Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditius. I read that we should be “Like-minded”, have “love”, and “lowliness of mind”. We are to “ have the mind of Christ”. These men “sacrificed”, and “ministered”.
Amazingly, Christ “humbled Himself and took the form of a servant” and gave His life for us. Christ has not left us without Help. The Holy Spirit is alive and well and in us, and I am encouraged to pray and trust in the living God to help me. May He lead me to practical outworking of these truths in my life.