Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. –Philippians 2:3-5
It had been a record-breaking Halloween. I had trick-or-treated until my pillowcase was busting at the seams. I couldn’t wait to get home and sort through all my hard-earned candy. Greedily, I scavenged through my new prized possessions, thinking about the bragging rights I would have at school the next day once people saw my loot.
My parents walked in during this process, however, to let me know that half of my loot would be going to children who were too sick to trick-or-treat. Needless to say, I did not like this idea at all. I tried to pull out a few boxes of raisins for those kids, but in the end, half of my goods were taken and given to charity. I sulked for weeks afterwards, especially during key candy-trading times at school.
Paul writes the Philippians, encouraging them to put others’ needs before their own. It was a call to unity, a call to be others-focused. It is easy and natural to look after and care only for ourselves, but the Lord wants us to look out for more than just number one. He tells us to care for the orphans, the widows and the oppressed. He tells us to love our neighbors. Understanding that everyone is equal in God’s eyes helps us walk in true humility. It allows us to work better together with those in our church, neighborhoods and communities when we realize that our needs are not any greater than the needs of another.
There are still areas of my life today in which I catch myself thinking only of me. It is easy to get so wrapped up in me–my schedule, my problems, my stresses–that I do not take time to think about what others around me are going through. So each day, I try to ask the Lord to give me a humble spirit and an eye for the needs of others. Selfishness can ruin friendships, work relationships and ultimately, pulls us further from Christ. To be Christ-like, we must put others before ourselves.
1. In what areas of your life do you find you struggle with selfishness?
2. How can you begin to turn those me-centered areas around so you can have a heart that truly looks out for the interest of others?
Proverbs 18:1; Philippians 2:1-11; James 3:13-18