Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17, 2011 … Threats to Humility: Selfishness and Conceit

Passage of the Day: Philippians 2: 3 - 4 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

My Journal for Today: Well, here we have our premise for the month stated very clearly in another way by an Apostle who was languishing in prison when he wrote this, totally humbled before God, yet exhorting believers to learn what he had learned in life – that the only way to live in God’s kingdom is to humble ourselves before God and others. The Apostle Paul realized how common it was (is) for Christians to succumb to the very human drives of selfishness or conceit, setting aside humility, and thereby forfeiting God’s grace in their endeavors. That’s why he was so forcefully exhorting the church at Philippi (and us too!) to avoid such self-directed agendas, which he knew would lead to factionalism and divisiveness within the church – which, in turn, he knew would destroy the unity about which he wrote to others in the church at Ephesus (Eph. 4: 3 - 6). He also warned the church at Corinth in this way (1st Cor. 3: 3); and he told the Galatians (see Galatians 5: 16) how imperative it was to bring selfishness under control.

But do we in the church of today understand and apply that repetitive exhortation? Do we get it?! I think not! Unfortunately, there is far too much factionalism and denominational pride standing in the way of God’s Church being able to use the presence and power of God through His unlimited gift of grace in today’s world. Oh, if we – the Church - could simply live as God dictated to us in today’s verse.

As John MacArthur points out in Strength for Today, it is not wrong for believers or God’s church to have agendas and/or plans as long as the attitudes behind these plans are motivated by humility and a consideration for all involved; … hence, the pronouncement of Phil. 2: 3 – 4. If this were to be the case in God’s church and for individual believers, God would be lifted up by the humility of those who mimic His attitude, which just happens to be the subject of Paul’s charge in the very next verse (see Phil. 2: 5). However, when foolish selfishness and/or vain conceit are at the heart of the plans we conceive in life or as His church, we move out on our own; and that was the prospect that Paul was trying to help the Philippians (and us) to avoid.

Prayerfully we will get the message and then live it the way God intended for us to live.

My Prayer Today: Lord, convict me … direct me … to consider others first in all my plans. Amen

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