Paul’s counter-cultural perspective moves from finding JOY in the face of suffering to finding the opportunity to serve instead of rule. Paul’s opening words of Philippians chapter 2 point out that he has a different perspective on life than most Americans. In America we’re taught to look out for #1, to take care of our own business first, and to let nothing get in the way of our own happiness. Paul says we should lower ourselves to serve others.
Where does he get such an idea? From the one who gave up all to serve all: Jesus. Jesus had it all in heaven, but laid it aside to be born of a poor humble virgin human being. He deserved to be honored as a king, but was born in a manger. He could’ve had legions of angels serve him, but instead went to the cross. He deserved praise and adulation, but received mocking and spitting. He lowered himself to die with common criminals. He wrapped himself in a towel to wash the disciples’ feet. He touched the leper and ate with sinners. He did not come to be served, but to give his life as a ransom for all.
Paul thinks differently than most Americans because Paul is not following the American Dream, but Jesus. You want to live like everybody else, keep chasing the American dream. You’ll be empty like everybody else. You want to live a different life? Follow Jesus.