Phil. 2:3: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit (twin killers of the cause of God), but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
What I love about our Lord Jesus is that being Very God of Very God, he felt no need to exalt himself or live in arrogance. Surely if our Lord has modeled this for us, then part of having the mind of Christ means that Jesus is going to move in a mind where we’ve already made place for him. We have heard Jesus say, “No servant is greater than his Lord.” and we have thought “If my Lord can die upon a cross, not claiming His prerogatives, maybe I, too, can learn to live in simplicity of spirit and give up selfish ambition and vain conceit. ”
I don’t know about you, but I have always found that when I get conceited, God usually has a way of reducing me. I don’t usually have to live with that very long. He forcibly reminds me that I’m not as much as I think I am.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
I know our day is riddled with the philosophy of Narcissism. I know it is a me-first proposition culture we live in. I know it is a time when Stallone in the movie Cobra says to the bad guy, “You’re the disease, and I’m the cure,” and we applaud. Contrast that to St. Francis saying, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” Consider others better than yourselves But we say, “What if I am better than the person I’m considering?” And Jesus says, in effect, “So what? No servant is greater than his Lord and I considered you better than myself, didn’t I” For the Jesus follower this is where it begins or ends. We must see ourselves as the servants of the world. Collectively it is our world and it’s our calling to care.
I walked through Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati long ago, and I saw a little baby boy there, below 2 years of age, with tubes running in and out of his body – clearly very, very sick. I asked the nurse about him, and she said, “I want to thank you for asking about him. He will die before he is 2 years of age, but the worst part is that his mother died in childbirth and his father’s in the penitentiary. Nobody comes; nobody asks about him much, and he lays there. You’re one of the first to even ask about him.” I walked out of the hospital that day thanking God that my two daughters were well and that it wasn’t MY baby. Then it seemed like out of the very atmosphere around me, God said, “Yeah, that IS your baby.” And I was ashamed of my selfishness.
If we’re servants, the world we see and touch is ours. How often do the Scriptures say of Jesus, “He was moved with compassion”? The mind of the servant becomes our mind when we take following Jesus seriously.
Is this as hard for you as it is for me? I’d like to hear from you.