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Serving Others with Compassion and Coffee


 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.

Philippians 2:3 CSB



How often do you feel you deserve something? Maybe you feel you “deserve” a vacation from your hectic job. It’s possible you believe it is justified to purchase a new vehicle. Could it be you deem it warranted to collect a bigger pay check than anyone else because of your sheer workload? I believe I downright deserve free coffee when I have reached the limit of purchasing 10 and getting the punch card filled. As human beings we desire to be rewarded. Isn’t it true we work because we know there will a paycheck at the end of the period? We do almost everything simply to be rewarded in the end whether it is a thank you from someone who noticed us, all the way to receiving a huge bonus for our work. How often, though, do we do anything simply because it is the right thing to do?     

Staying focused on the cross means that we understand and continue to look for and see important attributes of Christ. Philippians 2:8 tells us, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross” (CSB). Jesus was a humble person; another attribute we need to remember. He was human. He suffered, felt joy and sorrow, understood hunger and thirst, yet while human He was divine. He chose to be humble, so humble in fact, that He breathed His last breath after being beaten, stabbed, nailed, and broken. All of this to save US from death. When we envision Christ on the cross, focusing on what it must have been like for Him as a human being, we can see the reasons we are to be humble and have humility because He did it for us.           

Christ’s work on the cross begs the question, “why are we so selfish and conceited?”  Why is it we forget to behave the way He did? Why are we not able behave towards others as He has acted towards us? Our human understanding of situations and the fact sin rules in our lives is the reason we are not able to behave in such a way. From the key verse in Philippians, selfish ambition means you believe you need to look good, or need to avoid looking bad, and vain conceit is saying or thinking you deserve something more than anyone else does. These are not attributes of Christ and is the reason why Paul wrote this to the Philippians.

When we choose to walk with Christ and stay focused on the cross and the work He did there, it should be our very desire to behave towards others the way He behaved towards us. We don’t deserve what He did for us on the cross, but because of it we are free and can live differently than the rest of the world. I say this because, the rest of the world does not want to consider others before themselves. The rest of the world wants to push to the front of the line, ride the rides first, get to their destination fastest, allow their children to be rude so they receive the trophy. You get the picture. It’s a sad world where others think only of themselves and very seldom of others.

We are charged to be different. That is what Philippians 2:3 asks us to do. Paul was asking the Philippians to behave in such a way and it is fitting for us thousands of years later. We are required to be better. We are expected, demanded, counted on, to do this one thing because we are so loved. What this looks like is considering others’ needs, wants, wishes before we consider anything about our own. We must put others interests ahead of our own. You might be thinking, “Yeah, right, that’s not always easy!” Nope, it’s not because the world shows us its not what we should do and people might look at us so, so much differently when we behave this way. But this is an extremely important part of being a Christ follower and professing Him as our Lord. Jesus wants us to show His love to the world and this is one of the best ways we can do it. John 13:35 petitions, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (CSB) So, ask yourself, do people know you are a Christian by your love? Do they know what you stand for because of what you stand against? Are you the first on your mind, or do you think about others prior to doing what is best for you?

If you cannot answer these questions in a way that is pleasing to Christ, it's time to begin thinking differently. Here are some ideas that might help you begin to move toward the pleading of Philippians 2:3.

To begin you must release your selfish ambition. We all have these attitudes so this is a step we all must take. Ask God to show you the areas in your life where you tend to be selfish and be prepared to hear what He tells you. Then repent and allow yourself to be forgiven. He already knows your heart, allow Him to tell you what offends Him and ask for forgiveness.

Next, ignore your vain conceit. Disregard everything you think about yourself and while you are doing this take time to see the awesomeness of God. Look at your children’s eyes and see the wonder. Walk near water and listen to, smell, look at, the miracle that is water. Pluck a hair from your head and look at it closely, knowing that God knows what everyone of them looks like and how many you have. When you see God in these ways, it is easier to see how insignificant you are. You might begin to see others as He does, as well.

It's important to begin to generate real humility. This does not mean putting yourself down, but lifting others up. Is it a daily practice of yours to encourage others and help them see the good in themselves? You will develop humility when you really look people in the eye and listen to them rather than thinking about your response, seeing their pain or joy and experiencing it with them. You will now begin to see them more and stop thinking about yourself. When you really “see” others you will begin to be blind to yourself, hear yourself less, speak less, and listen more.

These steps are not easy, they will take time and a focus on the cross. And, if you focus on the Holy Spirit and allow Him to speak to you, it may happen more quickly. Philippians 2: 14-16 stresses, “Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life.” We are asked to behave this way and why wouldn’t we after all Christ did for us? He put us first in everything, it’s time for us to follow His direction and become lovers of men. Try throwing in a cup of coffee with this behavior and you will have it made.

 

A Prayer for Today

 

Lord, Your work on the cross is beyond comprehension. How can I ever repay You for Your sacrifice? Today, I will choose to begin to repay You through humbling myself and putting others first. Send Your Holy Spirit to speak through me and to provide a way for me to let go of myself and focus on You.


 

Today’s Challenge:


Spend time with God and reflect on the ways you are vain and conceited. Ask Him to give you the strength to begin to really see others before you see your needs. Choose one person you would like to focus your attention on and begin to show them how much they are valued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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