|Photo by Brokenarts|
Prompts For Thinking of Others As
Better Than Yourself
This command from God, to think of others as “better” or “more significant” than ourselves (Php 2:3) is a tough one for me. Is it for you, too?
“Why should I?” is often my attitude. And even when I feel like I ought to obey “just because He said so,” I often catch myself feeling like, “Okay, I need to go live in Pretend World so I can think of so-and-so more highly than myself.”
My attitude is hideous, I know, which is why I rarely even dare to put it into words in my own mind...but that doesn't mean I don't FEEL it. Is anyone out there willing to assure me that I’m not the only one?
I'm beginning to truly hate the particular brand of Fundamentalism that permeated the South when I was in my formative years. The Fundamentalism which forgot the fundamentals of Christlike love and humility, in favor of an attitude of arrogant, hateful superiority. One which taught me that I already KNEW my neighbor and/or my enemy, because I’d seen and heard his caricature lampooned often enough. One that saw no reason to even try to get to know those on the Outside better.
Him? Her? Just one of those. You know how those are.
Hateful, infamous travesty. Nothing Christlike about it. It was a pleasure to cast it aside at last.
But still...I’m to consider all others more important than myself? Why not just as important?
Well, frankly, I don’t know for sure. But I DO know that obedience to this command doesn’t involve a trip to Pretend World. (The One who issued the command doesn’t live there.) In fact, it involves two of the most real things in the world (unfortunately often counterfeited): humility and love.
Those are two things that I need to get from the Spirit, because my flesh has precious little of them to go around.
But even though I don’t know why He gave this command, I’m still to obey it. So I’m trying to think of ways to help myself do that, and (naturally), I’m writing it down here. Hey, it’s what bloggers do.
Here’s what I’m hoping to remember when I find myself in a situation that makes it hard for me to think of others more highly than myself (surely there’s one that will fit whatever circumstance it may be):
- This person has a need, and the Lord has given me the ability to share His love in meeting that need. Kind-of like triage...people with needs are very significant!
- I have a need, and this person could help/is helping. This is humbling for me, and I honor them for their resources and their help.
- This person is made in the image of God, but does not yet know her Creator. Jesus seeks the lost. He died for the lost! This person is very significant.
- This person is made in the image of God, and he knows and glorifies his Creator. What could be more significant?
- This person’s life is a story being written by God. Right now, my story intersects with his/hers, and I don’t know how much or for how long. I’d better consider him/her very significant!
- This person wants to share something of herself with me! What a precious, significant gift!
- God created this person with his unique characteristics, and placed him in this time and place. He must be significant!
- God is generous to the generous. I am free to meet this person’s needs without fear of being drained dry. (This has been a BIG fear for me all my life). And since it’s His plan that we should serve one another so He can bless both recipient and giver, then I’d better do my job and prioritize this person!
Hey, I’m beginning to see a trend! Writing things down really helps to clarify thoughts, doesn’t it?
Do you see it?
To think of someone as more significant than myself does NOT mean figuring out how much each of us is worth, and then sticking those things on a scale, and somehow making sure that my side of the balance always flies toward the ceiling.
It DOES mean deciding whose significance should have my attention right now. Whose significance should inform my actions and priorities right now.
God help me to learn to live this way!