To be perfectly honest, this study is turning out to be allot longer than previously thought. I was only able to realize its length after getting into the meat of the next few verses speaking of Christ's example of humility. Since the times seem to be getting more exciting with each passing day, I will reserve the rest of the teaching on humility, and the way of the humble hearted for one of the prophetic times magazines. This will be the last installment on the way of the humble hearted, and tomorrow we continue with something new. Lord knows there are enough burners going at this point in time wherein there will be no lack of topics we can discuss.
Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Within the span of a few simple words we discover the true meaning of selfishness, and selflessness, and by the definition thereof are able to judge our own hearts and actions. It is disturbing and off-putting that those who ought to be the most selfless among us, those who were called to serve, to give of themselves, to sacrifice and labor have chosen the way of utter and all encompassing selfishness, a selfishness which manifesting the greed that fuels it seems to know no bounds or limits. Their singular agenda well established, and the means by which they achieve said agenda being irrelevant as long as the objective is reached, men and women stand before you on a daily basis, fake smiles plastered on their immaculately groomed faces, lying through their teeth, making unrealistic promises, indifferent to how many souls they’ve hurt and wounded on their way to success and affluence.
Why is it that so many tend to forget as the years pass and they begin to consider themselves seasoned and mature believers that the most beautiful facets of one’s character as they embrace Christ and begin to grow in Him, are humility and selflessness? Every good work is received, and is appropriated the right value only when it springs forth from a selfless and humble heart. Countless wolves prowl the land today, looking out exclusively for their own self-interests, unconcerned with anyone, or anything else around them.
If selfishness and greed are looked down upon in the world, it is doubly offensive within the house of God, seeming all the more vile and reprobate. The gifts that God has bestowed upon us, the life we have from Him, the liberty we have in Him, all these things must be placed in His service, and toward the interests of others. If any member of the body, if any organ no matter how important lived only for itself, it would wither and dry up.
The natural environment or a follower of Christ is that of living and looking out for the interests of others, just as the members of the body function best by serving each other. Any selfishness, and the entire body suffers, and impedes it from functioning at its optimum level. The tragedy of it all is that a few members, a few organs are draining the entire body of hope, energy, strength, and even the willingness to press on. Why? Because they are looking out only for their own interests, unencumbered by the knowledge that they are destroying the body to which they belong.
May we be wise and use that which God has entrusted us with, whether it be an ability to speak, to sing, to write, to encourage, to pray, or to empathize all the while looking out for the interests of others. By being of use and beneficial to others, we are of use to ourselves. The member that helps the body helps itself, for if the body dies, the member dies along with the body.
As we look at this verse closer still we begin to discover the wisdom of God contained therein. God never said, ‘let each of you not look out for his own interests, but rather for the interests of others’, but said, ‘let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.’
It would be an exaggeration to say that what is required of us is to give away everything we have, and not keep anything, even that which is necessary for our survival. No, God does not ask us to do this. He is just, and does not treat His children unjustly. Whether it is material things of spiritual ones, it is not a sin to make use of them, it is not a sin to survive, but when we have more than enough and are indifferent toward others who are in need, whether spiritual or physical, it becomes selfishness, a state of mind and attitude that is detestable in His sight.
We read this passage in the Word and can’t help but acknowledge its beauty, but by the same token we must acknowledge and realize the fact that these are not just beautiful words, an empty theory or a topic of intellectual discussion. Apostle Paul writes to the heart of every man. He addresses the unseen things as though they were seen. It would be wise to receive the council of one such as Paul, for in this writing as in all his writings his primary concern is for those whom he is addressing to have an upright and righteous walk before God, a humble demeanor and a right spirit. Every member of the body in Philippi was compelled by Paul’s address to them, just as we are compelled by reading this epistle to search our own hearts, and see whether or not we are looking out not only for our own self interests but also for the interests of others. God’s plan for us is that we grow to the level wherein we have the mind of Christ. He came from heaven to earth, that we might have access to heaven. He left behind the glory, and took on the form of man, suffering such atrocities as to be beyond human understanding, all so that we might be with Him in eternity. The thoughts of the body must be in unison with the thoughts of the head. Only then will the glory of the head, which is Christ, begin to radiate throughout the members of the body. If the mind of Christ is in us, then our desire will always be to sacrifice of ourselves that others might be blessed.
The constant quest for vanity, the selfish pursuits, the pride, the arrogance and the selfishness are all ugly and deformed endeavors of the flesh, moral poisons that are at the root of sin and evil. When one surrenders to such things, he or she is quickly and suddenly thrust into a spiritual misery and mire that act as a vortex dragging others along, perhaps even those closest to us, into the depths of despair. When our ego disappears, when the self, the flesh, the old nature of us all is done away with, and Christ shines in us, that is the moment when we not only esteem others better than ourselves, but also look out for their interests as well.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.