It is easy to become obsessed with yourself. We take selfies because we like to look at ourselves. We buy things we think we want because we are selfish and self-centered. Often our conversations scream out, “I want to talk about me, me, me!” Live like this long enough, and you can have an over-inflated ego that believes you are the center of the universe, and everything else revolves around you. We might not use those exact words, but our actions, conversations, and social media tell the true story of obsession with ourselves.
That is what makes this statement by the Apostle Paul so shocking in his letter to the believers in Philippi. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (4) not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (5) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3-5 – NIV 2011)
One of the projects of a follower of Jesus is to elevate others and get over our selfish inclinations. We are to seek the interest of others above our own. This was modeled by Jesus with his words but primarily with his life. The passage that follows this one in Philippians is a song about Jesus sacrificing himself for us. He gave of himself for our benefit. This is the very definition of selfless living.
The concept is easy to grasp but difficult to implement. Maybe the best way to start is with small expressions of selflessness and grow from there. Today, take the time to say a kind word about the work of other people. Praise them for their efforts no matter how small. Ask about their thoughts and feelings, then sit quietly and listen to their response without interrupting. Open doors for people and let others go ahead of you in line. Let someone else have the best parking spot or the seat that you feel is the most desirable. Share. Post pictures of other people that will bring them joy. Offer a helping hand. Do something that lifts other people to a higher level.
As you start making these little words and actions part of your routine, it won’t be long until you are willing to sacrifice more for others. With each new day, you will begin to value other people in the way that Jesus did. Soon, all those words that start with “self” will not apply to you, and Christ will be seen in you.