Love To Others
And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
The Interests of Others
From: Our Daily Bread
In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests. Philippians 2:3–4
My friend Jaime works for a huge international corporation. In his early days with the company, a man came by his desk, struck up a conversation, and asked Jaime what he did there. After telling the man about his work, Jaime asked the man his name. “My name is Rich,” he replied.
“Nice to meet you,” Jaime answered. “And what do you do around here?”
“Oh, I am the owner.”
Jaime suddenly realized that this casual, humble conversation was his introduction to one of the richest men in the world.
In this day of self-glorification and the celebration of “me,” this little story can serve as a reminder of Paul’s important words in the book of Philippians: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” (2:3). People who turn their attention to others and not on themselves have the characteristics Paul mentions.
When we “value others above [ourselves],” we demonstrate Christlike humility (v. 3). We mirror Jesus, who came not “to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). When we take “the very nature of a servant” (Phil. 2:7), we have the mindset of Jesus (v. 5).
As we interact with others today, let’s not look on our own interests alone but also “to the interests of the others” (v. 4).
Jesus, You gave us the model of humility when You left heaven’s splendors to become a humble servant on earth. Help us practice Christlike humility in everything we do.
Serve God by serving others.
“Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” John 15:20
My dad was a pastor, so I got stuck with the label known to every pastor’s kid: PK. But, much to the congregation’s disappointment, the title didn’t stop me from being my mischievous little self. I have to tell you, I would like to have a $5 bill for every time somebody came to me and said, “Little Joe, you’re the pastor’s son. You should be an example.” They wanted me to be different, but they didn’t understand. I didn’t want to be an example! I was only five—I wanted to have fun with my friends and get into all the mischief they got into.
Nobody wants to be different. We want people to like us, and one of the safest ways to do that is to blend in, to be like them. But following Christ has never been about “blending in.” Following Him means to be like Him, to respond to life and relate to people the way He did. Inevitably, there are times when doing that makes you different. Granted, it can be risky and uncomfortable to be different. But that’s what being a follower of Jesus is all about—bringing the difference of your King to bear on the territory you’ve been assigned to: your home, your office, and your friendships.
We need to keep in mind that Jesus never promised that following Him would be a cakewalk. In fact, He made it clear that following Him would often create tension in a world that is going in the opposite direction. Just before His death, He spoke candidly to His disciples: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
. . . If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:18, 20).
I’ll never forget the story of Abdul Rahman, the Afghani who accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and faced the outrage of Muslim clerics in the courtrooms of Afghanistan. Although his conversion was considered a capital crime and his life was at risk, his faith stood the test. Right now while we are talking about this, thousands of believers in places like Syria, China, Sudan, and Pakistan are making the point that Jesus is more important than personal peace and comfort.
But for those of us who don’t live in life-threatening environments, being a fully committed follower brings its own kinds of trouble. It may be the threat of being cut out of the group and losing a promotion when the boss takes you and your colleagues out to dinner and then takes everyone but you to the strip club for an after- dinner drink. Or when your evolution-promoting biology professor scoffs at your stance on creation and gives you a lower grade on your paper. Forgiving a serious offense may have other fellow travelers thinking that you are the “village idiot.” Refusing to enter a gossipy conversation and declining opportunities to speak in unloving ways about others may even cost you something with fellow believers. Yup, sad but true!
Today, you will no doubt have opportunities to be different—to go against the flow. Don’t be intimidated. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” But then He said, “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). What an interesting thought: When I stick with Him through thick and thin, I may feel like I’ve lost, but in reality, I ultimately win!
In retrospect, I can now see how my antics as a PK reflected poorly on my Dad. It’s motivating to remember that our non-Jesus attitudes and actions not only leave us on the losing side but also end up reflecting poorly on the One we love so much.
Go ahead today. Make a difference by daring to be different for Jesus!
The Spiritual Search
The illustration of prayer that our Lord used here is one of a good child who is asking for something good. We talk about prayer as if God hears us regardless of what our relationship is to Him (see Matthew 5:45). Never say that it is not God’s will to give you what you ask. Don’t faint and give up, but find out the reason you have not received; increase the intensity of your search and examine the evidence. Is your relationship right with your spouse, your children, and your fellow students? Are you a “good child” in those relationships? Do you have to say to the Lord, “I have been irritable and cross, but I still want spiritual blessings”? You cannot receive and will have to do without them until you have the attitude of a “good child.”
We mistake defiance for devotion, arguing with God instead of surrendering. We refuse to look at the evidence that clearly indicates where we are wrong. Have I been asking God to give me money for something I want, while refusing to pay someone what I owe him? Have I been asking God for liberty while I am withholding it from someone who belongs to me? Have I refused to forgive someone, and have I been unkind to that person? Have I been living as God’s child among my relatives and friends? (see Matthew 7:12).
I am a child of God only by being born again, and as His child I am good only as I “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7). For most of us, prayer simply becomes some trivial religious expression, a matter of mystical and emotional fellowship with God. We are all good at producing spiritual fog that blinds our sight. But if we will search out and examine the evidence, we will see very clearly what is wrong— a friendship, an unpaid debt, or an improper attitude. There is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then Jesus says, regarding His children, “Everyone who asks receives…” (Matthew 7:8).