Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. – Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
What would happen if we all were to live our lives with these two verses as guiding principles? I wonder what would happen in our homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, churches, communities and nation.
I will be the first to admit that living like this is tough, very tough. I know this in my head, but the reality does not always make it to my heart. This is especially true when I feel I am being treated unfairly.
Selfish ambition comes naturally to me. If I am talking to someone, I am hoping to make a good impression. I am hoping they will like me. And if I am talking to them about what I do, my hope is they will think I have a worthwhile job and that they may even be interested in doing business with me. Selfish ambition is something I face on a daily basis. It takes the power of God working in me on a every day to keep me from living life focused on my selfish ambitions.
How about you? What do you do out of selfish ambition? When do you tend to act more out of selfish ambition: when you are at home, at work or at church?
In humility, value others above yourself
I would like to think I do this all the time, but the reality is that I look at the way some people behave and think to myself, “I am better than that person. I make better choices and I treat others better than he/she does. Therefore, I am better than him/her.” Only the grace of God working in me brings me back to the reality that I am who I am today, and I am not doing the things I condemn in others only because of God’s amazing grace at work within me. Valuing others above myself does not come easily to me.
How about you? Do you struggle to value others above yourself, especially those who are doing things that hurt you? When do you find it most difficult to value others above yourself?
Looking out for the interests of others
Growing up as I did, not having much and being treated badly by those around me, I quickly learned to look out for my own interests. After all, if I did not look out for myself, no one else would either. So, I grew up looking out for my own interests; and from then on, it came naturally. Henri Nouwen captured this idea of self-interest very well when he said, “Our many needs constantly interfere with our desire to be there for the other unconditionally.” It takes a conscious effort on my part to look out for the interests of others above mine.
How about you? Do you find looking out for the interests of others a struggle for you? When do you find the struggle to be most difficult?
To live as Paul admonishes us in this passage is humanly impossible, and thus the reason those who do not know God personally think Paul couldn’t possibly have known what he was talking about. But for those of us who truly know God, we know that although living like this does not come naturally or easily, it is possible because of the power of God at work in us.
Let us strive to let the power of God be seen in us, not by allowing our lives to driven by selfish ambition but by valuing others above ourselves and looking out of the interests of others.
If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.