Those were my three final words from our Discipleship Class this week. They are words I am learning to live by.
If you stop and think about it, the cause of most of our conflicts with others is the failure to get over ourselves. It is because we think so highly or at least so much of ourselves that if anyone says or does something that we don’t like or that we think is offensive towards us, we get mad at them. Right? Right.
Pretty arrogant when you really think about it.
Paul made clear in Philippians 2 the connection between getting along and getting over ourselves. He essentially gives the prescription for getting along with others:
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
In other words, if you are in Christ and you are going to be of the same mind, love and unified, it’s only going to come through doing nothing out of selfishness or pride and arrogance, but rather out of selfLESSness…actually considering in our minds that others are better and more important (even people I don’t like??). Really? Think about that a sec. That’s huge.
I’m really to think of others (ALL others) as better/more important than me? Yikes. Won’t that lead to poor self-esteem? No, but if you HAVE low self-esteem, you’ve not yet found your worth in Christ who has declared you worthy, perfect and acceptable in his sight.
As a matter of fact, it takes someone who has found their self worth in Christ to accomplish this; someone who is so comfortable in their own skin that they need not put others down or get their feelings hurt by what other say or do or feel as though they must elevate themselves (in order to feel good and of worth). That’s why Paul goes on to say this is the same attitude Christ had: though He was God in the flesh, He humbled Himself and put EVERYBODY ahead of Himself, and He could do this because He knew who He was.
Someone who has found satisfaction in Christ alone has full confidence so that they can actually enjoy building others up. The bi-product is always a closer friendship between the two individuals and Christ being honored. Failing to do so always leads to broken relationship and Christ not being honored.
Is this easy? Yes and no. It is unnatural if we are not found in Christ and, because we are by nature self-centered people, our default is to think of and do whatever will make us look the best and get ahead of everyone else. If, on the other hand, we are being built up in Him, finding our hope and our self-worth in Him, then it is quite easy to win that battle.
It does require that I constantly remind myself of these things; that I stay close and in His Word where I am reminded of my position in Christ…an adopted son of the King of Kings (Romans 8:15). And because I’m adopted, I have been chosen, though not because of ANYTHING I have done but completely and totally because of what He has done (Ephesians 2:1-10). At the same time, I must remember that I am still a sinful creature, deserving death and separation from Him just like everyone else. If I remember this, I will remain humble.
So, really, I need to just get over myself. I am working on that and I admit, I am very much a work in progress! I am struggling with putting these things into practice, working at losing myself in Him so that I see His perfection become manifested in me little by little until the day He brings me to completion…waiting on the Lord, giving my heart time to take courage in these things (Psalm 27:14).
Now, it’s your turn.