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The Interests of Others - Forward with Back to the Bible - May 21

  • 2021 May 21

The Interests of Others

Read Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

Reflect

How does humility and selflessness promote unity?

Think of the most selfless, humble person you know. Everything they say and do is for the benefit of those around them rather than themselves. They submit their will to God’s will and faithfully serve Him by serving others.

Now, imagine that all believers behaved like this person. What a difference that would make! In today’s verses, that is exactly how Paul is telling us to behave. He said, “let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Humility and selflessness are not optional. We are all called to set ourselves aside. It is evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts. As we mature and grow in our faith, our willingness to defer our own interests for the sake of others should increase.

In the previous verses, Paul called for the Philippian believers to be of one mind and heart. But unity among Christians is impossible if we are prideful and self-serving. If all of us are looking out for ourselves, vying for positions of prominence, jockeying for status, and seeking to be served rather than to serve, we will not be united.

One example of this in action was the early church described in Acts 4:32, 34: “ Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common....There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”

Wow. Talk about selflessness in action. The early church was certainly not perfect. But the Holy Spirit was at work among them. They had submitted to God and to each other. They didn’t only consider their own needs but rather the collective needs of the whole group.

Humility is not low self-esteem or self-degradation. Humble people view themselves as God sees them. They understand that they are sinners in need of God’s grace and mercy. But they also know that they have been made in the image of God and therefore, they are valuable and have worth. This accurate understanding of themselves enables the humble to see others in the same light and empowers them to extend the same mercy, grace, and compassion to others.

Take some time today to do a heart check. What are your motivations for serving others? Are you motivated by humility or selfish ambition? Do you have areas of pride that need to be confessed and addressed? How can you look to the interests of others today?

Pray

Lord, I confess that sometimes my heart is not in the right place. Sometimes, I struggle with selfishness and pride. But I know that is not Your will for my life. Help me to set aside my selfishness and consider others more than myself. Show me how I can humbly love and serve others today. Amen.

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