This morning on my drive to work (when I was feeling a little irritated how others were driving), this passage popped into my head: “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.” (Phil. 2:3-4)
Let’s be honest, when we are trying to get somewhere we are thinking of ourselves and our needs. But the Lord put it in my heart (again) that as His follower, I am to put others’ needs before mine. Peter put it another way: “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5) True humility esteems others as being worthwhile, no matter their station in life, and having more value than we place on ourselves. It’s a reflection of the humility that Jesus had.
In day-to-day life it’s not a natural way to be. Although it may be easy to be kind to others and show them common courtesies, we are admonished to think of others before we think of our own needs. In the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Luke 14:7-11), Jesus gives us practical advice on how to humble ourselves. “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (vv 10-11)
Worldliness tells us to put ourselves and our needs first–to give into pride. But being prideful gives the devil a foothold, and can lead to hardening our hearts. This morning I was reminded that when I think of myself first, I am instead to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). I then began to pray for others in my life, some needs known, others I lifted up to the Father knowing He knows what their needs are. In my prayers I put myself where we are told, last. Thank you for the reminder, Lord! How can I pray for you?