When I hear "Not Me!", I instantly picture the Family Circus cartoon where the mom ask who did something and the all answer "Not Me!", and there is a ghost like figure with "Not Me" written across it's chest. That is not what I'm talking about.
Paul explains the "Not Me" mentality in Philippians 2:3. This is the opposite of the world's mentality and doing what makes you feel good and look good. There are three points here that Paul makes, let's look at them of the world's mentality and doing what makes you feel good and look good. There are three points here that Paul makes, let's look at them
I love how the ESV puts the first point, "“Do nothing from selfish ambition...". This is not going to get you to the top of the corporate ladder. This is not washing the pastor's car during the service, hoping to get special privileges. This is seeing something that needs to be done and doing it. My youth pastor taught us to leave the church that we did a concert at in better shape than when we got there. One of my biggest pet peeves is going into a public restroom and there is water, soap and paper towels all over the counter. I will dry the counter and clean it up so that the next person has a fresh counter to use. No one knows who did it and I'm not getting anything for doing it other than my own satisfaction that it will bless someone else.
The second point is like the first, it is do nothing out of conceit. You might argue that they are the same thing. True to a point. selfish ambition has the motive of gaining position. Conceit on the other hand is look at me, look at what I did, it is a pride building attitude. The stereotypical high school cheerleader that everything is about her and how good it makes her look. She refuses to hang-out with certain people because they are "beneath" her standard and will bring her down.
The first two points are all about "Me". There is a sharp contrast here that Paul is making, "but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;”. Notice I put the word but in bold type. Paul is say here that the previous two points are not how we are to be. Instead, we are to put others first. This is the "Not Me" mentality that we are to have.
The Greek word used here for mind is - tapeinophrosune (tap-I-nod-ros-oo-nay) - humiliation of mind, modesty, and humbleness of mind. It was mind blowing when I looked it up and saw how totally opposite it is from the first two points. What a contrast Paul is making here.
We are to look out for the good of the other person before we think about ourselves. This reminds me of the man that was paralyzed and four men lowering him down through the roof to Jesus so he could be healed, in Luke 5. The four men first, carried him to where Jesus was, somewhere he could not go on his own. They were unable to get to Jesus because of the crowd. They did not let that stop their mission on getting him to Jesus. Without concern for themselves, they carried him up to the roof, tore a whole in the roof big enough that they could lower him down to Jesus. They did not care how heavy the guy was nor did they care what others thought of them. They only cared about this paralyzed man getting to Jesus.
What is more important; what we get from it, how it makes us look or that others can see Jesus by what we do?