Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
As I read those words in my devotional this morning, stuffing my face with a blueberry muffin, my toddler sat beside me and said, “I want a muffin!” For the record, he had already eaten breakfast but I definitely had the fleeting thought of stuffing the last bite into my mouth quickly. Instead of keeping the last delicious bite to myself, I decided to share. I immediately saw the irony and was thankful for the simple illustration that God used to remind me of my tendency to put “me” first. If I have trouble sharing a muffin, what will my reaction be when I have the option to share something of greater value with a brother or sister in Christ? I would like to think that without hesitation, I would have a sacrificial spirit of giving but in all reality, my heart is far from that state.
Paul’s words in Philippians are quite counter-cultural. The public education system was great at teaching me to follow my dreams and be whoever I want to be. My generation has a hard time with sharing. We like the idea of community but have no idea how to get along with each other. The Bible tells us to love our neighbor but if the sacrifice imposes on our comfort or wallet, we tend to give begrudgingly or not at all.
If you have the First 5 app on your smartphone, you read the words from Karen Ehman.
“Today we live in a selfish (and selfie)!) society. We are taught to look out for number one, to not let others get ahead of us. At every turn, it seems people are asking, “What’s in it for me?” What stands out most in our nearly-narcissistic culture is someone who puts others first.”
What a timely truth for Christians as Facebook declared today as “National Selfie Day”! Posting a picture of you is not wrong but social media can quickly become a competitive arena where our goal is to see how many likes and followers we can get. In a world full of self-absorbed people (myself included!), I want to choose to be others-focused.
How do Christians become others-focused? I believe that change comes only from the power of the Holy Spirit. It starts with our prayer lives. I’ve known for a long time that I tend to be stingy and selfish but I'm honestly fed up with how self-centered I always am. I know that attitude is not Godly so everyday I have been praying that God would change that.
“Lord, will you just help me put others before myself? Please let me pour myself out so that you can fill me and the light of Christ shines through. May my thoughts and actions gravitate towards how I can serve rather than be served. Let my love be genuine and my intentions pure in all my relationships. Instead of thinking about what’s in it for me, help me joyfully give of my time and resources today.”
In light of National selfie day, instead of posting a glamour shot, I am going to share with you this picture. Media would like me to believe that this little blessing is a hindrance to reaching my dreams or baggage that I have to haul around. I’m here to say right now that I am thankful for motherhood. There is nothing else that God has placed in my life that is more refining and rewarding. Be grateful for things in your life that combat your selfishness. After all, if our goal is to be more like Jesus then we must remember His character.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8