Thursday, May 3, 2019
Philippians 2:21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
The third identifying mark of a spiritual role model, according to Paul, is this: they understand that genuine interest in others must be centered in the purpose of Jesus Christ for their lives;
In the beginning of chapter 2 of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he advised us to have the same attitude of Jesus Christ – a humble heart and a serving spirit. He emphasized the importance of not being self-focused, but rather being others focused. In using Timothy as an illustration of this principle Paul gives us the all-important key to putting this principle into practice – our interests are to be identical to those of Jesus Christ.
Let’s reflect again on Paul’s progression of thought. I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. In essence Paul says, “If it matches up with what Jesus wants, I will send Timothy to you. He is not like everyone else whose primary focus is on their own interests, but he is like me because he has a genuine interest in what Jesus Christ wants for you.”
The principle that I glean from this is that I have not shown a genuine concern for another person unless my concern matches the concern Jesus has for that person.
I wonder how well you would grade yourself in this area. For example, even when we agree to pray for someone in need, we generally use personal objectives as the basis for our prayers. Here’s a possible sequence we go through in our minds:
- We want the circumstance causing the problem to be removed so that we don’t have to deal with it any more. Then, when we realize how selfish it is to want stressors removed from our lives…
- We ask for the circumstance to be removed so that the person being affected doesn’t have to deal with it any more. Then, when we realize that maybe they are supposed to learn something from it…
- We think about all the things that they need to learn, and we ask God to use this circumstance to fix them. Then, when we realize that we really don’t know the purpose of God for their life and that we don’t have the right to be so judgmental…
- We humble ourselves and ask God to show us His purpose for allowing this circumstance and to accomplish His will in the person’s life, and in ours.
It would show spiritual maturity if we would start with number 4 and never think about numbers 1-3. God has an eternal purpose for every situation and circumstance in our lives, and we are showing genuine concern for one another only when we seek God’s outcomes in their lives. It’s not easy, I know. But it is important. Whose kingdom are we building, anyway? Ours? Or God’s!
Be like Timothy, and show genuine, Christ-centered concern for others.