Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul outlines the pathway towards happiness, and that pathway is called humility.
Here in verse 3, Paul reveals the way to walk along this pathway of humility is by never allowing pride to become your guide! Pride is the root of every kind of evil and the reason why the devil got kicked out of heaven.
James 3:16 (TLB) says For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition [pride], there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.
Never letting pride become my guide is counter-cultural to this world. Society today rewards self-interest and vanity. It rewards narcissism by idolizing the most arrogant athletes, celebrities, and entertainers. People with the biggest egos seem to earn the most.
Look at how Paul describes pride:
“Selfish Ambition” - That’s a mindset where it is all about “me” – my needs, my status, my success and my career. This is the biggest cause of marriage breakdown and why so many celebrity marriages fail. There’s a saying: “the bigger the ring and more expensive the wedding, the shorter the marriage.” And that’s because the marriage is built upon all the wrong things. Receiving a big ring will never save a marriage, but having a big heart will!
Understand, although rings and wedding dresses are beautiful, the real foundation for a good marriage always comes back to the attitudes of the heart – attitudes like humility and selflessness, generosity and servanthood. If these ingredients are missing, it will be a very rocky, tense marriage.
“Vain Conceit” - Vanity and conceit are driven by appearances and what others think about me. It’s spending thousands of dollars and many hours sourcing the right outfits and accessories to ensure you get the response you want. Now I’m not against fashion, and I believe in presenting yourself well, but vanity and conceit are spiritual cousins with idolatry.
Paul says, “Do nothing out of self-ambition and vain conceit,” because they will only lead to conflict in relationships. When a husband or wife wants to be generous to others, vain conceit and selfish ambition will react angrily, even violently – because they are the nature of the devil, not of Christ. In the same way, you will not entertain demonic spirits, don’t entertain self-ambition and vain conceit.
Rather, in humility, value others above yourself. This is the spirit of Christ. This is the spirit that brings happiness and harmony to relationships, driving away conflict. If you are experiencing ‘conflict’ in your relationships, especially marriage – look for where ‘pride’ has gained a ‘foothold.’ That’s the cause of every kind of conflict (James 3:16). But humility is the answer.