God I pray that today Your Word further changes my interactions with other people. I pray that I can display Your Gospel through my actions and responses to people. I Pray that today, as we read about valuing others, that I am able to humbly see truth in my life. I pray You make it clear whether I am truly applying this or if I am just living like the world.
2:1 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, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Wow… maybe we should just skip these verses? Paul definitely stabbed us on in the liver on this one… To sum up those first two verses: This command applies to anyone who has had any life change whatsoever from Christ’s salvation, or if you even just have the Spirit (that’s still radical). If you are included in that category (every christian) you need to value others above yourself. O.O Again, wow…
I guarantee we do not do this, and if we do it’s very minimally. How many of us wake up on a day to day basis and count what others need more important than our desires? We don’t even compare needs to needs, that meaning our DESIRES or PREFERENCES generally trump other’s NEEDS. We will forego helping someone truly in need if it does not cater to our preferences or desires.
Imagine a church filled with people who value others above themselves. How radically would that change how we interact? We should be praying for this. If God has called us to act this way then He is faithful to provide this demeanor if we are confidently praying for assistance.
This is a principle we have been trying to drive home to our kiddos. We have been trying, at a young age, to instill this mindset of trying to cherish others even if it means we aren’t the happiest. We have to remember that our flesh lies to us constantly. It tells us that to be truly happy we must cater to each desire or preference we feel. However, God’s Word tells us that pouring love out on our neighbors is what will truly fulfill us. Therefore we have been teaching our kiddos that if we are doing something and it causes the other person to become irritated we should stop. We have been teaching them that according to God’s Word we should not do something just because we want to if it hurts someone else.
That’s an incredible lesson for children, but it’s just as applicable for adults. As adults we often speak out against things, want to change things, or want to do things that we know bothers other people. Yet we boast about our freedoms in Christ and forget that with that freedom comes the ability to lay down freedom. We forget that as mature adults we no longer have to enjoy every freedom we have been given. We can choose to NOT do something to show our love for someone else.
Simply put: we don’t love others well because we love ourselves too much.
Let’s honestly evaluate our lives.
God, help me to apply this. Help me to see all the areas in my life that I am not valuing others above myself. Without You stepping in and changing my behavior significantly I cannot do this! Lord, this is radically different than my flesh wants. I need You to step in today and remind me constantly of this truth.
This ones simple, not easy, but simple. Start valuing others above yourself. Try to do this once today: put someone else’s preference above yours. THEN share this truth with your children, family, friends. Remind people that God says for us to value other people above ourselves. That means when someones livid that they are stuck inside… remind them that there are people who could die from us spreading the disease to them unknowingly. When someone is mad that their friend does something they didn’t like… remind them that we should be evaluating it from their perspective. Almost every time we get angry it is because we are being selfish and failing to view things from both sides (this includes with our kids). Perhaps today choose a few moments to do the things your kids want to do above the things YOU want to do.