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.

Deb Bingham

    1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    In Alexander Stauch’s book “If You Bite & Devour One Another” (2011), he discusses this topic in conjunction with handling conflicts in the church. He states “human conflict is one of the dreadful consequences of sin entering the world” (p. 1). He then ponders how are Christians working together in unity (p. 2)? His response includes the foundational biblical perspective of humility (p. 5).
    First he states “learning to handle disagreement as a Spirit-controlled Christian” (p. 18) involves being humble. When challenges arise between our Christain family, having an attitude of Spirit-controlled humility can help handle various situations civilly and constructively (p. 22). Galatians 5:25-26 states “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
    Next Strauch connects humility to the greatest example God has provided for us; “Christ Jesus . . . did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but . . . humbled himself (Philippians 2:5-6,8). He (Strauch) provides two suggestions on maintaining humility; denouncing wrong attitudes (selfish ambition and pride), and teaching right attitudes. Strauch concludes by stating “we who read Paul’s words [to the Philippians] today also need to humble ourselves, love and serve others, break the habit of complaining and arguing, and stop our petty, selfish fighting with one another” (pp. 49-50).

    Strauch, A. (2011). If you bite & devour one another. Littleton, Colorodo: Lewis & Roth Publishers.


Post a Comment

Leave a Reply to Janis Cameron Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.