Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
not looking to your own interests but each of you
to the interests of the others.
At the end of my day, after a whirlwind of activity and interactions, I felt I was not really being heard as I talked to a friend on the phone. It seemed that what I was saying just wasn’t capturing my friend’s attention because she so much wanted to talk about her day and her issues. But before I allowed a pity party to come on, I reminded myself of this wonderful life changing verse. I call it the unselfish verse because that is what Paul is telling us: put others before ourselves. Only God can give us the grace to do this because as humans, we tend to want the attention. Humility is such a gift from the Holy Spirit and I ask for it every day, to learn how to be humble. It does not come naturally to me. But is sure came naturally to my role model: Jesus. He listened to hearts, not just words.
Like anyone, I want my time to talk, but sometimes I must give up my time slot and allow others to take center stage. Some people are lonely, unsure of themselves and maybe they even have a deep need for extra attention so I’ve found that they need to talk more than I do.
After sharing something that is really important to me tonight, I stopped for a response and my friend gave me a totally inappropriate answer and fumbled around so much I could tell she only heard a few words that I had said. This happens often and to be honest, there are times I want to say “did you really hear what I just said” but I know that would cause a rift and so I let it go. Because my role model would have.
To me, Paul is wisely sharing his heart as he advises us to “value others above yourselves” for he knows that is what love is all about: thinking of the other person and not ourselves. Hard as it is, the Holy Spirit can teach us how to do this. And we find giving love is better than receiving it after all.
Even if you aren’t a memorizer, write this verse out on a few cards or print the image. Place one in your car to reflect on while you’re driving, one on your refrigerator, and one by the phone or wherever you hang out a lot. I have one in my shower in a baggie here it sticks to the wall. I need to be reminded that God wants me to give up my desire to be heard and learn to hear others more intently. By listening deeply, we are able to hear clues for the hurts and struggles that others are experiencing and we can offer encouragement and prayers.
Lord, I know You always hear every single word I say and know every unspoken thought. Thank You for being there for me. And thank You for teaching me humility and the skill of listening and putting others before myself.
Trusting in Him,