by Kenneth Peterman
Years ago a book was written that took the world by storm – while it may not have the same impact today, it is still very popular. The book is entitled, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnage. Some critics think that it might be more accurately named, How to Win Friends and Influence People to Get What You Want. Who knows? Although there is a book that preceded Dale Carnage’s work by thousands of years that without doubt shows how to win friends and influence people. I’m talking about the little epistle of Philippians in the New Testament.
In this epistle, Paul emphasizes others, others, and others. This letter has no ulterior motive or underlying theme, just the welfare of others. Here are a couple verses indicating such: 2:3 “. . . let each esteem others better than themselves.” or 2:4, “Look not every man on his own things but every man also on the things of others.”
While such exhortations are easy to say, they are hard to do. How in the world are we really to put others first in our lives since we are such self-centered beings? The answer is in the very next verse, 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” In other words, we cannot do it in our own strength but can only really seek the welfare of others by having the mind of Christ.
The question is asked, what specifically is the mind of Christ? We don’t have long to wait for the answer. In 2:6-8, the mind of Christ is demonstrated in Christ’s behavior. “Who (Christ), being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, (7) but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; (8) And, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
The darkened words all indicate some form of humbling, humiliation or servitude. The Lord Jesus Christ, very God of very God, humbled Himself for us. He put us first by putting Himself last. The secret of putting others first is to put on the mind of Christ. But in order to do that, we must humble ourselves. We humble ourselves by allowing the Holy Spirit to control us on a moment by moment basis. When this happens, we will genuinely win friends and influence people.