“ Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4
We live in a culture that values individuality, self-motivation and ambition. Over the decades the cry of “God helps those who help themselves” has been elevated to the level of Scripture, when in fact such thinking is in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ and the Bible. Yet, at the same time, we have seen throughout history the result of the needs of the other being elevated above the needs of the self through any means outside of Christ.
Socialism, Communism, Fascism and most of the other isms of the political spectrum are founded on the idea of the welfare of the group superseding the desires of the individual. In the end each of these systems fails spectacularly. But, so do systems built on the idea of rugged individualism, every man for himself, or elevating the individual above the needs of the group or society as a whole. In each of these man-made paradigms there is a fatal flaw. God is not central, and it is only through a humble approach to the Father through the grace of the Son and led by the Holy Spirit that we as human beings can maintain the balance necessary for peaceful coexistence where everyone’s needs are met.
This instruction from Paul tells us that it is possible to live the ideal aspired to by every social structure ever created by man. It is also one of the most difficult commands for us to follow in this culture of constant conflict between the recognition of the individual as a creation of God and the needs of the society He has granted us to live in, particularly for those in leadership positions within their church, community or nation. As we seek to influence the world around us to become a better reflection of God’s kingdom, let us remember that humility and vanity cannot coexist in our hearts. Let us examine our motives, set aside our own desires, and humbly seek God’s direction on how best to serve our fellow man.
Father, it is easy for us to get caught up in earthly powers. Even when our intentions are good, we often lose sight of Your direction, seeking to please people or to please ourselves rather than to please You. Forgive us for our pride Father, forgive us for our vanity. Let the Holy Spirit move among us, making us humble, revealing clearly Your desire for how we are to serve one another, and helping us point the world to Your glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.