“doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.”Philippians 2:3-4
This is likely one of the most paradoxical sayings to be heard by modern ears. In our current day and age, when just about everything is about self (social media self-promotion, hyper-sensitivity to personal rights), hearing an admonition to hold others as being better or superior to yourself is practically a foreign concept.
And while this narcissistic focus may be prevalent in this generation, it certainly isn’t exclusive to this current time. Contrasting the characteristics of the unrighteous with the blessings of the righteous, Paul warned about the fate of those who would continue to primarily focus on themselves.
“but to those who are self-seeking, and don’t obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will be wrath and indignation, oppression and anguish, on every soul of man who works evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”Romans 2:8-9
He cautions Timothy of those whom he would be facing in times to come.
“For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,”2 Timothy 3:2
Peter also rails against the personal agendas of those false believers who were infiltrating the early assemblies of the believers.
“but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries;”2 Peter 2:10
By contrast, the early believers were to be known for the humility and self sacrifice in the service of others. The demonstration of their love and compassion was to be through helping others beyond their own needs.
We would do well in this day and age to spend less time promoting ourselves and looking up from our phones and devices to the urgent needs of those around us. Once our focus is off of ourselves, we can then be prepared to exhibit God‘s compassion to those in need.
If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.