By Brian Jakowski
What if every person on earth put the best interest of others before their own? How would a world, in which everyone’s clamoring “It’s all about me,” change?
With society’s unbridled pursuit of its own self-interest, the nuclear family is teetering, while mental health issues, abuse, violent crime, and war are on the rise.
one fact looms on the horizon. Our world is rapidly collapsing on itself and racing toward destruction!
A Counter Culture Solution.
The answer though unpopular has been with us for thousands of years,
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being in one spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only for your own interest but also for the interest of others.” Philippians 2:1–4 NIV
Paul’s request flies in the face of common lifestyle practices today, just as it did when he wrote it. However, counter-culture his idea seems, as disciples of Jesus, we’re called to live by these words in our everyday life.
Let’s take a closer look at Paul’s words and what we have in Christ.
Right Standing With God
In heaven, the blessings of knowing Jesus as your savior are beyond description, but they begin here, in this lifetime. Recognizing these blessings is key to knowing who you are in Christ, and to living and loving as Jesus did.
As a follower of Jesus, the blood of his sacrifice washed you clean. You are forgiven, righteous, justified, and sanctified in God’s eyes, the moment you receive Jesus.
Why, because Jesus took our punishment, paid the penalties for our sins, and restored us to the right relationship with the father.
His cry of “It is finished” still means there is nothing left to do, but believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved. Rom 10:9
Peace, Encouragement, And Fellowship Are Yours.
Paul says we’ll find encouragement and fellowship with the Spirit when united with Jesus. Why, because being united with Christ means you’re never alone, or without Him.
When the enemy whispers you’re alone and don’t matter, remember lying is his native language. John 8:44 You are worth the cross, and Jesus Himself said, “Lo, I am with you always and until the end of time.” Matt. 28:
Paul also tells us we’ll find comfort, tenderness, and Compassion in Jesus’ love. The reason for this is found in 1 John 4:18–19,
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear; because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.”
Jesus’ perfect love drives out fear. Understanding this truth brings comfort and security allowing you to feel secure and to extend tenderness, compassion, and love to others.
It Works By Being last
I’d Like to share this snippet from Dobson’s book “NightLight”.
During a performance, an Air force Captain’s plane went out of control over a populated area. A witness later testified that he’d locked eyes with the pilot for an instant as he shook his head no, refused to eject, and steered his plane into the empty field.
When his wife went through his belongings, she found a note in his wallet that read, “I’m number 3. First is God, next everyone else, then me.”
He had time to eject but chose to put the lives of people he’d never know ahead of his own.
This moving story beautifully illustrates Paul’s intent in Philippians 2:1–4 as well as Christ’s mind in the following verses,
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but… When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, …Having become human …He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died …the worst kind of death at that — a crucifixion. Phil. 2:5–8
I pray that neither you nor I ever face such a choice; however, we are called to die to ourselves and put others first.
Be Unified In Purpose
Paul tells us to be of one mind, spirit, and purpose. We do that by looking to see where God is working and joining in
My home church in the states started a food bank years ago that fed a few dozen local families. Today, they oversee one of the largest food distribution programs in their region.
Two days every week volunteers work together to make it happen. Some pack boxes, others carry them to cars, while even more people direct traffic or pray with clients.
Regardless of their job, each person has one purpose, showing God’s love to every client. The distribution of food is only an end to the means.
Working together towards that one goal the kingdom of God is pushed out and revealed to all watching.
What’s In It For Me?
We aren’t called to serve the other guy so we’ll receive a reward. But when we do it with Jesus’ heart, we set a reciprocal cycle in effect.
You see to me you’re the other guy or girl. So, when you put another person first, God will put the urge to serve you in someone’s heart, maybe mine.
When you or I put the other guy/girl first, God will put it on someone else’s heart to serve them.
The point is to serve, and there is joy in that alone.
When I helped at the food bank I went home with a sore back, and tired feet, even with my clothes ripped, but never did I go home feeling I hadn’t been blessed much more than our clients!
The Father Knows Your Needs
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus stresses how the father knows our needs and is overjoyed to meet them. He goes on to tell us, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matt.6:33
Further in Mark 10:29, Jesus says,
“Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land — whatever — because of me and the Message will lose out.”
finally, in Matthew 19:26 we find,
‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The things we’ve been conditioned to seek, money, relationships, stuff, etc. are passing away. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and you’ll see His rewards surpass all you give and they last forever.
Dying To Self Is Hard
Dying to self is a difficult task that must be repeated day after day, that’s why Romans 12:1–2 tells us,
… to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God … Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
With each passing day, we’re called to submit our will to God. By allowing our minds to be renewed in Jesus it becomes increasingly easier to put others ahead of ourselves.
The good news is that God’s mercies and grace are new every morning.
So, no, It’s not all about you. When you lose sight of this fact, pick yourself up and dust yourself off and try again.
Jesus paid your price on the cross. You start each day under a fresh anointing of grace that you can pass on to others as you put them first! Don’t give up and see the world around you become a kinder place.