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Stop Looking Out for Number One


Philippians 2:1-11

Verse 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,


After yesterday’s discussion about how difficult it is to be like-minded comes this firm command that seems a bit out of reach for us. Do nothing out of selfish ambition.


As we said during our discussions about becoming like-minded, it is difficult not to think of ourselves and our own desires before thinking of others. We are naturally more inclined to think about ourselves and yet that gives us no excuse in how we live. As Christians we are not to live on our own strength and thoughts and therefore we must make the decision to obey this command.


To do nothing out of selfish ambition is a daunting task. It is being intentional moment by moment to see if what we are thinking about doing or saying is going to benefit another or just ourselves. This may seem like work to us as we learn to do it, as it fights our natural bent towards self but as with any new thing in our lives the more we do it the more it can become second nature.


Selfish ambition rears its ugly head in various ways in our lives. Sometimes it comes through a desire to get our own way no matter the cost. Like the child who sees two cookies left and takes the biggest one, leaving the smaller, crumbling cookie for their sibling, we often look at a situation and see what we want and reach for it without thinking how the other person will feel.


It may show up at the office when we seek the more prominent project hoping it will further our career. Maybe we push a classmate aside so we can get to our favorite swing before another kid gets to it. Sometimes it even shows up on the road or at the grocery store. We try to get the closest parking spot so we don’t have to walk so far not thinking that another person may come who actually needs a closer spot. We push past people hurrying on to where we want to go without giving much thought to the person we have just cut off. There are so many ways that selfish ambition shows up in our day to day life. Being intentional about not living for self is a perfect way for us to show that God is number one in our lives. Let’s worship Him by looking out for other’s interests before our own.


Making It Personal

What is a way that selfish ambition shows up in your life? In what ways do you need to make changes so that you think about others first? Do you see selfish ambition as a way that you worship yourself?


Making It Personal Kids

Do you like it when others think of you first? Do you try to think of others’ wants before thinking of your own? How can you show someone that you love them by thinking of them before yourself?


Closing Prayer

Father, it is so easy to think about ourselves first. The world even teaches that we should look out for our own interests first. Help us learn to think like You and to think of others instead of ourselves. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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