“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4, ESV)

Several years ago, the verses noted above were one set of many we studied and memorized together as part of an EFCC Men’s Ministries mentoring program I was involved with. In looking at them again for writing this devotional, I am struck with a couple of questions: “Do I struggle a lot with being humble toward others? What do I do with my interests as compared with putting the interests of others first?”

And the answer I came up with is — it depends. It depends on people, situations, circumstances, and even my relationship with them. It’s harder for me to be humble toward and love the people God puts in my life I consider difficult or hard to love well. Can you relate?

It’s not as hard to be humble and treat others as more important than ourselves when we like them, look up to them, or enjoy being with them. It just comes more naturally. But what happens when they even get on our nerves, or we disagree with each other? God places different kinds of people into our lives to teach us some of the greatest and most important life lessons. These lessons provide opportunities for us to learn to love to a greater degree and serve others better.

In some way, if I don’t love everyone well I’m allowing myself to be conceited, lazy, and prideful. If I’m not careful, I may begin to see myself as better than them. But we don’t get a choice about “who” we want to love or serve or treat better. Everyone is created in the image of God and deserves to be treated significantly and with great respect by us. Everyone. And yet, we can only do so by and through his grace and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Please pray with me: Oh Lord, with the guidance of your Spirit, help me, help all of us, be better at loving today. Guide us to be more humble toward those around us in our lives. Lead us to care more deeply for others and their interests. Lead us to treat others how we want to be treated, with respect and great significance within the bounds of your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

In closing, for further study, consider looking up the following companion reference verses to Philippians 2:3-4: Romans 12:10 (NIV); 1 Corinthians 10:24; Galatians 5:14; Ephesians 4:1-2.

John Roberts
Communications Specialist

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