Wednesday, August 06, 2014

How the Gospel Changes Relationships: Everyone Else Becomes More Important

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)

When a Christian walks into a room they should view themselves as the least important person there.  That's easy if you were to walk into the Oval Office, but can be more difficult when you set foot in a homeless shelter.

Here is a list of 7 things that this command does and does not mean:

It does mean:

1.  You should be really good at asking questions.

This is one of the most practical ways to live this out.  Ask people questions about their life - their family, job, interests, hobbies, and their favorite sports team.  It communicates your desire to learn about them.

2.  You should be a good listener

This is kind of obvious in light of number 1.  If you're asking questions, but not listening to the answers, then you're not really interested in what the person has to say.

3.  Your weekly schedule should reflect intentional investment in other people (neighbors, friends, wife, children, grandchildren)

If you get to the end of the week and realize the vast majority of your time was spent pursuing your own interests to the neglect of others, then you need to adjust your schedule.

4.  You should pursue people, not demand to be pursued.

Often it's easy to fall into the trap of being the friend that wants to be pursued; waiting on the phone call or the invitation.  But, if we treat others as more significant than we are, then we should pursue them so that we can be a part of looking out for their interests.

5.  You should be teachable.

A teachable spirit demonstrates that you believe other people have valuable feedback to offer.  It's rare for someone who views themselves as the most important person in the room to listen to advice from other people.

It doesn't mean:

1.  You never take time for yourself.

Jesus retreated to the places of solitude, even fleeing from the crowds, to spend time in prayer.  Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for others is prepare our hearts to serve them.

2.  You never talk about your needs.

If obedience to this command meant never sharing struggles with others, then no one would ever know how to pray for each other.  But, it does mean you shouldn't get into those all too familiar "one up" struggle competitions where you try to show how much worse your situation is than theirs.

What are some other practical ways we can live this out?

No comments: