“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility valueothers above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you tothe interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4
There are those alive today who would do their best to convince you that selfishness really isn’t so bad. In fact, they would argue, it is an ideal. It takes some nerve and creativity to argue that selfishness is something to be praised, but let’s for a moment listen to their logic.
Selfishness, some would say, is an ideal because it is necessary for the evolution of humanity. If we all seek to do what is best for ourselves, the we’ll advance the entire human race. Motivated by greed and selfish ambition our brightest minds will rise to the top and do great things. Through their achievements we all experience progress. Selfishness then, is nothing more than a made up idea that keeps us from experiencing our true potential by concerning us with the needs of others.
Clearly this line of thinking is contrary to the teachings of Christ. Selfishness is real! Where as the world seeks to puff us up with pride and self-concern, Christ pleads with us to consider others better than ourselves. How do we accomplish such a counter-cultural task? We accomplish this through the Spirit and discipline!
Paul commands the church in Philippi to “do nothing out of selfish ambition” but rather to “value others above [themselves]”. This challenge is put forth to us as well by our savior Jesus. We are called to love others as God has loved us. We do this with His help. Every day we are given opportunities to humbly serve others sacrificially. Where is God calling you to look to the interests of another above your own? Where is the Spirit prompting you to step out and love your neighbor with a love that costs? Will you listen? Pray for all of us that we might respond to the call of Christ to humbly stand out as those who love in this world.