Welcome to the fifth week of our fall series Philippians: Choosing Joy Under Pressure. Paul writes this letter from a Roman prison to a church in crisis. His words help us navigate our own times of pressure and crisis. This week, our conversation centers around the person and work of Jesus. The solution for the church in crisis is humility. Jesus not only modeled humility but also revolutionized the way we consider humility. This week, our conversation revolves around what the example of Jesus means for our life.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Last week we talked about how pressure is normal. What pressures did you feel last week? What are some ways we can care for each other through the normal pressure of life?
Share part of your story
What is a song that you routinely repeat on your playlist? Why?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
A Remarkable Song
Identify the main themes, big ideas and key words in these verses.
Paul says the remedy for a culture of conflict is humility. Jesus modeled that perfectly. What was the first-century view of humility?
Pride and humility stand in opposition to each other. Pride keeps us from giving an apology, accepting an apology, asking for help or accepting we are wrong. What are some of the ways you see pride in the world around you? What are some ways pride demonstrates itself in your life?
In his book, Humilitas John Dickson writes, “Humility is the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself.” Humility is not a weakness. Humility is sacrificially using my skills, talents, and resources to serve and meet the needs of others. What stands out about this definition of humility? What makes doing it so hard at times?
A Song of Submission
The crucifixion was gruesome. It was a public torture. People could yell at you so close that their saliva would end up on your face. Jesus embraced this horror and walked into it for us. How have you heard the physical aspects of the crucifixion described? Why would Jesus put himself through that?
In the first century, humility was associated with slavery. In Rome, pursuit of self-honor and glory were the highest goals. Jesus flips the cultural narrative upside down with his life and teaching. What are some of the positive and negative views of humility in our culture today? How big of a role in changing the view of humility do you think Jesus played?
The emperor personified Rome’s promotion of honor and glory. Rome was all about Rome. The message was if you rebel against us, we will crush you. If you rebel, you’ll be on a cross. Jesus said, I will be crushed for you. Because of your rebellion, I will hang on a cross. What are some of the differences between Jesus’ way of life and the ideals of Rome? What do you think were some of the struggles of the early Christians in trying to live the way of Jesus in that culture?
Paul urges his followers to act counter-culturally by embracing the life Jesus offers and rejecting the self-promotion of Rome. While our culture places a higher value on humility than the Romans did, what are some ways our culture values self-promotion? As Christians, what are one or two areas of our lives where humility will result in something counter-cultural?
Paul writes to call for unity. But, it is a unity through humility. How does humility promote unity? Where in your life would you like to see unity? How can your group help support you as you use humility to seek it?
A Song of Trust
When Paul wants to provide an example of humility, he naturally turns to Jesus. Verses 6 and 7 point to the nativity. How did Jesus humble himself just by being born?
When we are reminded of the birth of Jesus, whether at Christmas or some other time, what do you usually think about? How can we use the nativity to remind us of the humility of Christ?
Have someone read 1 Peter 2:23. How does Christ’s example help us see the value of humility?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Humility is using your strength for someone else. What are some strengths you have that could be used to serve others? Where can you regularly and faithfully use those strengths to serve?
Paul was afraid the church would lose its ability to spread the gospel because of its lack of unity. As you think about the people you desire to know Christ, discuss the relationship between how you treat, talk about and value people and the spread of the gospel. How might those two things be related?
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