by Charles R. Swindoll
Yourself. Yourself. Yourself. We're up to here with self! How very different from Jesus' model and message! Instead of a "philosophy" to turn our eyes inward, He offers a fresh and much-needed invitation to our "me first" generation. There is a better way, Jesus says. "Be a servant. Give to others!" Just listen: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3-4).
Know what all that means? Well, for starters, "nothing" means just that. Stop permitting two strong tendencies—selfishness and conceit—to control you! Let nothing either of them suggests win a hearing. Replace them with "humility of mind."
But how? By regarding others as more important than yourself.
Look for ways to support, encourage, build up, and stimulate the other person. And that requires an attitude that would rather give than receive.
"Humility of mind" is really an attitude, isn't it? It a preset mentality that determines ahead of time thoughts like this: I care about those around me. Why do I always have to be first? I'm going to help someone else win for a change. Today, it my sincere desire to curb my own fierce competitive tendencies and turn that energy into encouraging at least one other person. I willingly release my way this day. Lord, show me how You would respond to others, then help me do the same.
To get started in this unselfish lifestyle, let me suggest three basic ingredients: giving, forgiving, and forgetting.
Once we make up our minds to implement the truth of Philippians 2:3-4 (taking a special interest in others) or Galatians 5:13 (serving others in love), those three basics will begin to emerge. Instead of always thinking about receiving, we'll start looking for ways to give. Instead of holding grudges against those who have offended us, we'll be anxious to forgive. And instead of keeping a record of what we've done or who we've helped, we'll take delight in forgetting the deed(s) and being virtually unnoticed.
It is impossible to give yourself away at arm's length.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.