3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
Paul and Timothy are writing to the Philippians, telling them how Jesus has both blessed their lives and what expectations Christ now has for these fellow Christians.
The chapter begin, “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Working together with one mind and purpose? Agreeing with each other? Lord, in my house, two people equal three opinions. Half the time, I don’t agree with myself. And RARELY do we agree wholeheartedly. More than likely, someone caught me at a weak moment and I didn’t have the chance to think things through all the way.
As for our key verse–how much nicer my house would be if we DID follow Philippians 2:3. Children are inherently selfish. We are just starting the two’s with The Baby and let me tell you, she knows ALL about possessions. Everything is her’s. What’s the joke? If it’s her’s, it’s her’s. If it’s your’s, it’s her’s. If she gave it to you and now wants it back, it’s her’s.
She still starts off cute enough. If you actually say “no” she will first look up with you with her big eyes and say, “Pwese….” If the possessor of the item doesn’t immediately relinquish the desired item, the high pitched scream results. It makes your ears bleed and causes dogs to cower under decks and beds. If, in your agony, you actually grab the desired item even tighter (out of uncontrollable muscle spasms) The Baby will then throw herself on the floor and begin to convulse. Once you can no longer stand the tears and thrashing and decide to actually give the item to The Baby she immediately stands up, kisses your cheek and says, “Tan-q,” without another thought. Oh, she really is that good.
On the other hand, The Baby is as good with sharing as she is with possessing. She can have food in her mouth and if you ask her for a bite, she will fish out the half chewed mass and hand it too you. One thing I love about this age is that she is exactly who she is. She hasn’t learned to act a certain way, or make people think she is a certain type of person. She is who she is. The Girl used to be that way, but once she turned 9 or ten, she suddenly started caring about what other people thought about her. Was she pretty enough? Smart enough? Did the pants make her butt look big (WHERE did she get that one?!) Suddenly, she wanted to impress people. The problem with that is, you start changing who you are in order to find favor in other people’s eyes.
As for humbleness–that is one of the hardest ideas to wrap my mind around. We are always trying to teach our children and give our children a strong sense of self. We want them to be confident that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to. So how to we also teach humbleness. I think it has to do with how they react to their accomplishments. Are they quiet in their confidence or do they need to let everyone know what they did?
We are not so different from our children. We want what we want when we want it. Our temper tantrums look different than The Baby’s. We are sneakier and more subtle–employing the silent treatment and other underhanded methods. The portion we want to share is only what is left over after we’ve had our fill. I’m trying to teach my children that it isn’t a sacrifice if you aren’t giving something up–if you don’t give while left wanting. It is also a lesson I’m trying to learn myself.
Ultimately, we need to realize that we–and everyone around us– are constantly works in progress. Like our children, we are God’s children. And we have much to learn.