Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
Okay, I have trouble with this one. Like probably most other people on the planet, my first instinct is to put myself first. I am competitive. I like to achieve things and win awards.
But as I grow older, those things seem less important. No one cares what honors I received at the university or in my career. To others, my achievements always were unimportant, but that is usually because they were also busy trying to earn their own accolades. And although my old pride often kicks up, I try to give myself a reality check.
My perspective has changed over the years. As I look back on my life, I realize my priorities were not always the best. Sometimes I settled for the good when God wanted me to have the best. And His definition of the best often did not mesh with my desires.
Jesus tells us to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Matthew 16:19-20. Just what does that mean?
Although we can’t deposit gold into a heavenly bank account, we can invest in what really does last for eternity – our relationship with God and with other people.
How do we do that? By making our goals the same as God’s. And He cares about people – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
If Jesus had his own self interest foremost in His mind, He would not have suffered and died on the cross. But in true humility, although He was the Creator of the Universe, He put the needs of others before His own.
The Apostle Paul said that his ambition was to preach the gospel where Christ was not known. Romans 15:20. That is not everyone’s mission, to preach where Christ is not known. But God gives each of us a different task, and the tools we need to fulfill it, if we are willing to use them for His glory and not our own.
In our natural life, our ambitions are our own. In the Christian life we have no aim of our own, and God’s aim looks like missing the mark because we are too short-sighted to see what he is aiming at. Oswald Chambers
What are your priorities? Do you put others before yourself?