Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
These words are potent, powerful and relevant to all of us who live in this world. This hustle and bustle world we live in is constantly spewing the message of self; self ambition, self discovery, and self help. ‘You’ve got to make it happen!’ ‘You need to find yourself.’ ‘You can’t help others unless you first help yourself!’ The problem with all of those statements is that they ignore the need we have for a God who is bigger than self. The above statements all ‘sound’ so right. They make sense to our natural mind, and that’s why they’re such great catch phrases. But, lets look at each one individually.
1. ‘You’ve got to make it happen.’ This makes me the person responsible for my own great destiny. This takes my eyes off of God and others and places them on self. Self interest, self ambition, self gain. There’s so much that God wants to make happen in us, but we have our eyes on us instead of Him. If we put our eyes on Him, and we are obedient to His Word and leading, then will we be successful. Proverbs 3:5-6
2. ‘You need to find yourself.’ Sounds okay, right? Except who we really need to find is God, and He will show us who we are. The desire to find ourselves comes from the feeling of emptiness or feeling unfulfilled. Without God, that’s what we will always feel. But, in Him we find true peace, true joy, and true power to overcome our insecurities. Jeremiah 29:13-14
3. ‘You can’t help others until you first help yourself.’ This is probably the one that drives me the most crazy. First off, we all have something to offer others. The Bible made it very clear in the new command that we are to love one another. Jesus didn’t say, ‘You worry about you, first. Then once you have it all figured out – love on others.’ We are to do the exact opposite and lay ourselves down for our friends and family. Believe it or not, as we give love to others, we receive it back even more.
As we read in the beginning verse, it takes humility to regard others higher than ourselves. We tend to want to fuss about our own battles, problems, fears and insecurities and, sometimes, we stay in our own place of despair. But, there is no healing in that place. I know this to be true. We cannot wait for all the injustices of the world to leave before we give of ourselves. We might get hurt loving others; actually, we will definitely get hurt loving others. But, it will be worth it. Because as we give all we have, God is pouring in all the more; more of His grace, more of His love, and more of His mercy. And, we will do more than just survive off of it. We will thrive. Matthew 6:33
Today, let us take our eyes off of us and put them on others. Let’s be attentive, loving, and interested in something other than self. If this seems hard, I understand. But, more so God understands. Just ask Him for help. Trade yourSELF for His HELP. Ask Him who He wants you to love on today and how. He’s a creative God, so be open to all He has for you today.