In our culture today, we are encouraged to work on ourselves. We use language like, “self-love, me time, and self-care”. We are told to make sure we are okay and good before helping others. There is a saying that goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup”. Well, that is true, but that is not in the Bible. Scripture says in Psalm 23, “my cup overflows”. It does not say that we need to do all these things to better ourselves and fill up our cup, and then, and only then, can we help others. God fills our cup, not us. Philippians 2:13 tells us that He is working in us, giving us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.
It dawned on me as I was reflecting on my thoughts and actions, that I have been so hyper-focused on working on myself, that I have not been serving others like I should be. We are not called to make ourselves great. For we know that on our own strength, we can do nothing. In John 15:5, God tells us straight out that apart from Him, we can do nothing. That is a very humbling reality. Any and all that we do comes from Him, our source, the vine. It is all about Him, it all comes from Him, and it is all for Him! It is not about us. One of my friends always tells me to get out of my own way. We have to do that as disciples of Christ.
We are Christians, or “little Christs”. Our lives are to be an example of Him, so that others may see His light in us (Matthew 5:16). That is what the Word of God is for: to teach us how to live as Christ lived.
Philippians 2 teaches us how to be imitators of Christ when it comes to serving others. No where in the Bible does it say we should focus on ourselves and do what we want. In contrast, it says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!” We are to be servants for God and for others. There are many other places in the Bible where it says not to serve ourselves. I would love to put all of them in this blog post, but it would be way too long! I am blown away by how much information is in the Word, and it is all there for us- if we would just put it into practice.
1 Corinthians 10:24 says to seek the good of others, not your own good. We also know from 1 Corinthians that love is not self-seeking. It even says in James 3:16 that when we are selfish, there will be disorder and evil! That is so true, and unfortunately, but also thankfully, I have learned that the hard way. But thanks be to God, that He is our good shepherd, who guides us in life to be more like Him.
Selflessness may come easier for some than others. It is hard. It is hard to be Christ like. I know for myself, He has to really humble me sometimes. He says to me, “I know. I see your frustration. I see what you are doing. I will take care of it. You do not need to worry. You do not need to make your point. Leave it. Let me be in control. Let me be God”. I am thankful, but it does not make the process of dying to myself any easier! He loves me. He loves you. He wants me, and He wants you. I know He is speaking to me and correcting me when it comes to being a servant for Him and others. It is not about me, and it is not about us as believers. It is all about Him, it is all for Him, and it is all from Him. Be encouraged knowing that He is God, and all the many blessings that come with knowing Him.