Philippians 2 contains one of the most beautiful illustrations of the life and death of Jesus, the Son of God. After Paul tells us to do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, he motivates this calling by showing us the example of the humble heart of Jesus Christ. We continue week 3 of Nettie’s Book Club/Bible Study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians with Chapter 4 of Matt Chandler’s book To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain. In this chapter, Matt Chandler explains that we sacrifice our pride when we stop chasing the wind to make space for the humility of Jesus Christ to inspire us to seek the cross.
Reading for the week
Luke 1: 39-55
Chapter 3 – The One God Exalts
Chapter 4 – What the Humble Seek
For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.Philippians 2:21
What the Humble Seek
In Chapter 4 of To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain, Matt Chandler shows us the dangers of a prideful heart. Pride is “an assertion of independence and self-allegiance and special knowledge, the kind you think you get from forbidden fruit.” Inspiring memes and pretty T-shirts encourage us to “follow your heart” but scripture shows us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Matt Chandler unpacks how pride locks us into the prison of our hearts. We are so focused on what others think of us that we cannot see the sin in our own lives.
The proud aren’t truly seeking the way of Christ because their vision is filled with the self-centered movie playing on the IMAX of their darkened hearts.Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
The Lord has been speaking to me a lot about the stewardship of money lately. In this sermon series, Matt Chandler passionately emphasizes that Jesus is not after our money, but he is after our hearts. However, how we spend our money reflects what/who we worship. The proud believe they deserve wealth, health and prosperity but the humble know that everything belongs to the Lord. The things of this world cannot fulfil you. This is why the rich and famous often feel empty and frustrated.
God is adamantly against the proud. (See Proverbs 16:5-7, Proverbs 8:13, James 4:6.) But God loves a humble heart. We can measure our humility in how we trust, fear and honour God. When we can walk in humility and praise through sickness and suffering, we are humbly seeking more of God.
Seeking the Cross
What is the motivation for the sacrifice of our pride to serve others?
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:5-11
Through his humble life and sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus Christ shows us the example of a life of humility. It is so striking to me how Matt Chandler explains the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane. When the Romans arrested Jesus they were using the bodies, strength and minds that Crist himself created. They nailed him to the tree that Christ created. He could’ve stopped them at any time. But he didn’t. He gave himself willingly for the sake of our sins.
A life of humility is based on the cross of Jesus Christ, which tells us that Jesus could have chosen to do none of it but decided to endure all of it.Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
We are not naturally inclined to look to the cross and give up our own desires. So Paul has to remind us to look to the cross while God grants us the power in His great love to seek the cross.
These words from John the Baptist are written deep in my heart and I often pray them when I feel weak and sinful.
He must increase, but I must decrease.John 3:30
The pursuit of the cross is ultimately the pursuit of Christ. Paul shows us in Philippians 2:14-18 that we should be glad to sacrifice for Jesus so that everyone will know that Christ is great. He uses the example of Timothy and Epaphroditus to show the congregation what the selfless following of Christ looks like. They risk their lives and livelihood because they know that “ultimately they are totally secure in Jesus“.
Matt Chandler demonstrates the practical application of a life that pursues Christ: Do you see everyone you come into contact with as a soul? Whether they be the server at a restaurant or a brother and sister at church, do you see a soul instead of an inconvenience? I have to ask myself the question if I look at others and wonder “How can I serve? How can I sacrifice?” Matt Chandler reminds us that the church is supposed to reflect the image of Christ to each other and the world.
I will repeat the questions Matt Chandler asks us at the end of this chapter: Do you recognise any developmental delays in your growth as a follower of Christ? Are there attitudes and actions that need to be laid bare and repented of?
Here are some discussion questions for you to study Chapter 4 a bit deeper.
Here is the full study guide in case you missed the previous chapters.
Here is Matt Chandler discussing Chapter 4 – What the Humble Seek