Selfishness can be an uncomfortable topic. We want to think we are better than the pettiness of selfish actions and attitudes.
Yesterday I realized things I was upset about really came down to…being too caught up in my own interests. Busted!
Do nothing from selfish motives or self-conceit. Nothing? Oh, this is hard! Self-focus is the natural default setting of our sin nature. If we could see a print out of our motivations over the last week, we’d be shocked at how pervasive selfishness is in our thinking.
There is a striking contrast in the progression of verses in this passage. It’s kind of Humble sandwich:
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:1-8).
These challenging words on selfishness are sandwiched between a description of how the body of Christ should be acting and how Christ showed true humility. Loving encouragement, compassion, and Spirit-led affection are the result of looking out for one another.
Caring about the interests of others and sharing their concerns creates unity and bonds of friendship.
The humility of Christ is a stark contrast to the self-focus that lurks in our hearts. He emptied Himself of divine glory and did not insist that He be treated according to His right. Sacrificing Himself for our benefit is the extreme act of looking out for the interests of others. Love grows when we let go of our own interests and we care for others.
10 Simple Ways Beat Selfishness:
- Pay attention to what others are excited about.
- Be a cheerleader. See the best in others, especially when they can’t.
- Follow through with commitments to others.
- Be thankful for the people God places in your life. Gratitude chases selfishness away.
- Be intentional. Don’t let busyness crowd out the needs of others.
- Share the load and lend a helping hand.
- Give the grace-gift of belonging and welcome new friends. Be inclusive rather than exclusive in relationships.
- Make a habit of giving thoughtful gifts and notes of encouragement.
- Don’t compare or compete. Celebrate the victories of others rather than be envious.
- Accept others as they are; nobody is perfect…including you.
How can you beat selfishness today?