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
It's 4 am and I am awakened from a sound sleep by my wife's tired voice. "Lance, I just fed the baby. Will you please get up and burp her and put her back down to sleep. I don't think I can do it. I'm exhausted...my throat hurts and I have a headache." As I lay on an air mattress on the floor in our home office because we have family visiting, I begin to think of all the reasons I should say no. I think about how I got less than 5 hours of sleep the night before and how my wife got maybe thirty minutes or an hour more. I think about how I stayed up with my wife at the last feeding because she didn't want to be up alone. This and many other thoughts run through my mind because the truth is, I am still a very selfish person. In my experience, nothing has brought this hidden selfishness to the surface like a little baby and lack of sleep.
Little babies are not capable of thinking of anyone other than themselves, you see. Their world is centered wholly on themselves. That means that this otherwise independent man who has lived thirty years doing pretty much what he wanted to when he wanted to do it has just had his life hijacked by a little screaming ball of flesh whom he loves dearly. In time it will be mine and my wife's responsibility to teach her how to think of other people and even how to put others before herself, but for now that lesson begins with me getting out of bed at 4am and putting my wife and my daughter ahead of myself. The real shame isn't that my daughter is incapable of thinking of anyone other than herself at 7 weeks of age; the real shame is that her father suffers from the same problem at 30 years of age. Yet this too is a part of God's gentle, loving and gracious process of refining my character.
Too many of us are still looking after our own interests instead of the interests of others. We are still filled with the selfish ambition that this world has taught us. It's much easier to talk about this than it is to do it though. I know what area of my life is revealing my selfishness and I know that the first steps toward humility for me are putting my wife and daughter above myself. Where in your life is selfishness rearing its ugly head? What first step can you take to consider others better than yourself?
For further reading...
- Philippians 2:1-11- Look to Jesus' example