“Have it your way” “You deserve a break today”
American advertising gives us a steady diet of advertisements that tell us to put yourself and your needs first. These catchy slogans accompanied by smart musical jingles find their way into our thinking in more ways than just tempting us to order a fast food hamburger. While the strategy to capitalize on our own innate desire to selfishly put ourselves first, it’s far from a new temptation.
This temptation was a part of what Adam and Eve succumbed to in the garden when they chose to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree. They wanted to be like God and were afraid they would “miss out” on knowledge they felt he had “held back” from them. Since then humans have struggled to learn to put the needs of others before our own.
This is the reason that Paul wrote this to the church in Philippi:
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 also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
In order to live this verse out, you are going to need the power of the Holy Spirit – so putting your faith in Jesus Christ is step one on this journey. After knowing you have the Holy Spirit living inside you, can you really begin to walk this lifestyle of love out fully.
The next aspect of attitude is moving toward humility step by step.
In order to put other’s interest before your own you will need to make sacrifices. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Mark 8:34).” There will be a dying to ones’ self in following Jesus. The verse is not talking about a onetime sacrifice, it’s an everyday occurrence.
Love always has a cost.
Love is time, energy, effort, money and often putting yourself second, or even last. True biblical love doesn’t count how many times you were first, it doesn’t keep track of numbers like that (1 Cor. 13:5). Love is inconvenient and often not matched in level of sacrifice by the other person.
Jesus, our perfect example, “laid his life aside” or laid his life down for us.
Jesus willing laid down his life on the cross – but he was making love sacrifices (laying aside his life) long before that dark Friday when He hung on a tree. Jesus lived a life marked by sacrifice and putting others before himself. When he lived that way, Jesus was misunderstood, taken advantage of, betrayed and most of the time he wasn’t loved in return. On a daily basis Jesus took the form of a servant – when he had the right to be served (Mark 10:43-45).
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 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! Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)
Love costs and is inconvenient.
Love costs you something and often isn’t returned in the same manner it is given. If you think living a lifestyle of feels good all the time, you are sadly mistaken. While there is the fullness of joy we receive in living this life (John 15:11), actually walking out love can be painful and challenging.
- Where will you be inconvenienced today in putting other’s needs before your own?
- What will you do to love others that may confuse others and cause you to feel misunderstood?
- How will you pray to be more aware of needs around you that you could meet?
- Will you be willing to have your day interrupted by the call to meet the needs of others?
I encourage us to live a lifestyle of love today, and not try to have everything “our way.”
If you missed last week’s message in our 50 Days to Love series, click her to listen to the podcast or watch the video.