More Important Than Myself
by Greg Litmer
via That Ye May Grow Thereby.
If I can learn to truly regard others "as more important" than myself (Philippians 2:3), then I will have to take a giant step toward living day by day as a faithful child of God. I struggle with this concept in some aspects and don't struggle with it in others. How can I view the person who has nothing and lives off of the government as more important than myself? How can I consider a person who does not match my intellectual abilities and talents as more important than myself? I can do it by looking at Jesus, that's how.
How do I compare to Jesus? Like a drop of water in the bottom of an otherwise empty 50-gallon drum. I am nothing, and the Lord died for me. One person wrote that the person who is able to think this way is "the one who is so conscious of his dependence on God, and of his own imperfections and nothingness, that his own gifts only remind him that others must have gifts also, while his sense of his own utter nothingness suggests to him that these gifts may well be superior to his own, and higher in nature and degree."
Thinking this way, it becomes possible for me to "not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Paul's point is that the feelings, interests, and needs of our brethren are to be put before and above our own. That does not mean ignoring our own needs, but to subordinate them to the needs of others. In Romans 12:10 Paul put it this way: "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor."
Just think of how this understanding would affect our conduct in very practical ways. All of the sick would be visited and cared for just because we would be thinking about them. No one's burdens would have to be borne alone -- because brothers and sinister would always be there with arms extended to help pick them up. We would all be present at every service that our health allowed because we would be concerned about considering one another, to "provoke unto love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24). Arguments concerning non-doctrinal issues would be laid aside; they would cease because the brethren involved in them would be most concerned about the others. Even when I have been sinned against, if I understand Paul's teaching in Philippians 2, then I am going to be most concerned about the spiritual welfare of the other person. That changes my entire attitude.
When I live my life recognizing that I am to follow the example of Jesus and to see others as more important than myself, I will engage in personal evangelism even when it is inconvenient or makes me feel uncomfortable. I will be moral and conduct myself as a child of God should every minute of every day because I want to give the best possible example that I can to everyone with whom I come into contact. Christianity is not about me -- that proved to be a hard lesson for me to learn. It is about the other person.