By Brooke Holt
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:1-4
Did you know online sources offer tutorials on how to take selfies? In case you are not on the selfie train, a selfie is a picture you take with your cell phone where you switch the camera from facing outwards to facing you. Instead of taking pictures of other people, you take pictures of yourself (and whomever else you can squeeze into it). According to a Google report, people take 93 million selfies each day. Society’s obsession with selfies indicates something deeper – self-preoccupation. The Apostle Paul challenges the Philippians of his day with the problem of self-preoccupation (though they never took selfies), and his words challenge us even more today.
In this passage of his letter, Paul reiterates the abundant blessings that flow from Christ to the believer: encouragement, comfort in love, participation in the Spirit, affection, and sympathy. Through the Holy Spirit dwelling within Christians, they receive the fullness of God’s love, care, and grace which can lead one to be captivated by the Lord instead of oneself. In her book, Invitations from God, Adele Calhoun says it this way: “Accepting Jesus’ invitation to follow is not agreeing with a list of ethical principles and beefing up your willpower. It is about falling in love with Jesus. When we do that, we fall in love with people” (p. 53). Fall in love with Jesus, then fall in love with his people, and then you will shift from self-focus and self-serving to God-focused and the serving of others.
God’s way in this world differs radically from the world’s way, and God’ call us, his people, to embrace his way. Where the world focuses on self – self desires, agendas, plans, promotion, etc., Paul reminds us it is about the Lord – not us. Thus, Christians are invited to embrace the humility of Jesus Christ. This humility will then produce a focus on how to love others, serve others, and even consider others as more significant than oneself.
Where the world encourages you to take selfies, Paul encourages you to turn your eyes from self to God and others. Turn the camera back around. See people. Take time to know them and understand them, delight in them, come alongside them in their good times and bad times. Manifest the love of God to them and to the world through the way that you live.
Manifesting God’s love and living it daily is the way of Godly humility. It is the way of Jesus, and it is the way the Holy Spirit would like to live and move in you today.
Are you living in this kind of humility? How might the Lord be calling you to turn your eyes from self to God and to others? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Advent is like celebrating a national holiday in a foreign land — like observing the 4th of July as an expatriate. Locals do not understand the fuss. Advent is equal parts cherishing and missing home. AND it’s a mix of loving this world while getting ready to leave it behind. This makes Advent the most human and most complex celebration we have. Isaiah the prophet, David the psalmist, Paul the apostle, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus all lived in one world and longed for the next. They loved this world and loved the world to come even more. In these 28 devotions in Face the Dawn, join them in wearing the paradox of Christianity- this world may be our home, but that world is HOME.
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