Monday, July 23, 2012

What's Your Attitude?

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 2:5

     For about as long as I can remember, my mom has reminded us to have a “servant’s heart.”  It’s a good reminder of what our attitudes should be like.  If you read Philippians 2:5 in context, you can see more in depth just exactly what that type of an attitude should entail.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others
   better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests,
   but also to the interests of others.”    -Philippians 2:3-4

     Paul tells us that we should be humble, considering other’s better than ourselves as opposed to doing things for our own gain.  We’re supposed to put others before ourselves.  How often have you gotten upset at someone because you had to do what they wanted, not what you or anyone else wanted to do?  If you’re anything like me, this really annoys you.  Unfortunately, this is because, as human beings, we are sinful, and that’s our selfish nature rearing its head.  But it also brings up a good point.  How often do we do that very same thing without even thinking?  All too often, we’re so concerned about ourselves that we don’t even remember to consider the wants of others.  We’re being selfish.  Look at the verse again, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit…”

     If you use Google to find the definitions of those words, this is what you come up with:

          Selfish – adj. (of a person, action, or motive) Lacking consideration for others;
      concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
          Ambition – n. A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring
     determination and hard work.
Desire and determination to achieve success.
          Vain – adj. Having or showing an excessively high opinion of one’s appearance,
     abilities, or worth.
          Conceit – n. excessive pride in oneself

     Put all that together, and Paul is telling us not to have a strong desire to achieve something that focuses on our own personal profit or pleasure or because we have excessive pride in ourselves and our own worth.  Instead, we’re to focus on the other person!  We should do things because we’re focusing on doing something for the profit or pleasure of another, because we believe in their worth.  Just imagine how much better things would be if we all did that for each other!

     We have a tendency of thinking that we’re better than everyone else.  You know, that whole, “taking excessive pride in our own worth”?  Well…

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death —
        even death on a cross!”
-Philippians 2:5-8

     Jesus is the Son of God.  If anyone had a reason to be prideful, or, in the context of this article, look to their interests before those of everyone else around them, it would be Jesus.  But even though He had equality with God, He was the perfect example of what a servant should be.  Philippians 2:7 says He made Himself nothing!  If you’re “nothing” or a “nobody”, that typically means you’re below the notice of everyone around you.  The desires and needs of those around you are more important than your own.  When you read the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), you see over and over how He looked out for the interests of His followers, and even, in some cases, His “enemies”.  Read verse 8 again.

“And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death —
        even death on a cross!”

     Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us.  Jesus was God come to Earth in the form of a man, and instead of expecting everyone to serve Him, He set an example by serving everyone else.  Even to the point of offering His life as a payment for our sins.  Not just for His followers then, but those who would come later.  It makes me think of John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

     I want to challenge you all to make a conscious effort to do something each day to serve the people around you, without asking for recognition.  Humble yourself, instead of being selfish.  Even if it’s your obnoxious little siblings, someone who wants to do something you don’t want to do, or just doing something nice for someone else, even if they don’t ask.  The results can be amazing. 

     The Comma Queen

Image by The Comma Queen.


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