I have a dear friend. . .a brilliant man. . .who is, in fact, a member of the Mensa Society, with an IQ of over 120.
In the midst of any conversation. . .whether about politics, people or ideas. . .he is prone to say. . . “Let’s get this conversation back where it belongs. . .on me.”
For my friend, the statement is just a way of having fun. . .or re-directing the conversation but it doesn’t have to be on him. . .he isn’t self-centered in the least.
However, we do live in a “me” society.
“What’s in it for me?”
“What difference does this matter to me?”
“How will this benefit me?”
“It’s not what I want to do.”
“Why should I care about it (or them)?”
Don’t get me wrong. . .I do think you have to be concerned about what’s best for you and your family. However, the key to your future success is your ability to be a blessing to others. . .even when there is no obvious benefit to you for doing so.
Philippians 2:3 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].
In reading this verse we learn there are seven things we’re told not to do.
1. Do nothing from factional motives.
According to dictionary.com the word “factional” means:
Sadly, many people are only interested in whether or not something benefits them. Some have the illusion that being of service or a servant to others is a noble attitude to be displayed when your neighbors will notice or in some cases, in national and international emergencies when the cameras are running and the world will notice.
For some recognition and/or fame drives their desire to serve others. While the scripture points out that service to others are the criteria for greatness.
Matthew 20:26 in the Contemporary English Version says:
“But don't act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others.”
When a verse is repeated twice in scripture you can know that it must be important to God. . .and if it’s important to Him. . .it have better be important to us.
Mark 10:43 in the Contemporary English Version says:
“But don't act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others.”
The scriptures point out that greatness is personified in the service of others.
Matthew 23:11 says:
“But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
If you want to be considered great in the Kingdom of God. . .serve someone else. . .when nobody is looking.
2. Do nothing through contentiousness.
According to dictionary.com the word “contentiousness” as listed in Philippians 2:3 in the Amplified Bible is defined as:
“tending to argument; quarrelsome”
Have you ever been around anyone who just likes to argue?
Maybe a family, friend, co-worker or just someone you sit beside in a restaurant.
Certain people seem to relish arguing about everything with anybody. I have one relative, in particular, who falls into the category.
It’s easy to get drawn into discussions with contentious people. . .however, I strongly recommend you avoid the temptation. You certainly do want to act like or be known as that kind of person.
I think some period are argumentative because it’s the only way they can feel good about themselves. I have neither the time nor the interest in delving into discussing and/or dissecting such personalities.
I would, however, like to encourage to follow the wisdom of a dear friend of this ministry . . . Pam from Valrico, Florida once gave one of the most powerful and appropriate anagrams of SALT that I’ve ever heard.
The best way to Stop Acting Like Them is not to allow yourselves to become argumentative even in self-defense.
2 Timothy 2:22 in the Message Bible says:
“Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God's servant must not be argumentative. . .”
3. Do nothing through strife.
James 3:16 says:
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
I have a historical background in politics and a unique understanding of how the system works. . .and what motivates and/or frustrates voters.
One of the things I dislike intently is when people interrupt and talk over other people without letting them express their opinion. Even if I completely disagree with what you’re saying. . .I’m going to wait my turn to speak. . .doing anything else is just plain rude and creates strife.
I find it interesting that the Greek word for strife (eritheia G2052) is defined in Strong’s Concordance as:
“electioneering or intriguing for office, a desire to put one's self forward”
I’d say that’s an apt description of the state of political dialogue in this country.
However, it becomes even more interesting when you realize the Greek root word for strife (erethizō G2042) means:
“to stir up, to provoke”
When you provoke someone. . .you’re causing trouble that will come back to haunt you.
In fact, the root word is used in Colossians 3:21 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. [Do not break their spirit.]”
4. Do nothing selfishness.
I can give you a great reason not to be selfish and it’s confirmed with almost identical scriptures found in three of the Gospels.
Matthew 16:24 in the New Living Translation says:
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”
Mark 8:34 in the New Living Translation says:
“Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”
Luke 9:23 in the New Living Translation says:
“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
Bottom line. . .God does not want us to be selfish. Period. Paragraph.
In fact, Philippians 2:4 in the Amplified Bible admonishes us to always be concerned about the interests of others. It says:
“Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others.”
Your thoughts and actions will either be dominated by your flesh which is selfish or your spirit which is selfless. You choose.
5. Do nothing for unworthy ends.
If something is not unworthy then it’s worthy. . .so clearly, the scripture is telling us to do things that are worthy of our lineage, as a joint heir with Christ. . .and our calling.
Ephesians 4:1 in the Amplified Bible says:
“I THEREFORE, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God's service.”
In the final analysis, you want to be declared worthy.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 in the Amplified Bible says:
“With this in view we constantly pray for you, that our God may deem and count you worthy of [your] calling and [His] every gracious purpose of goodness, and with power may complete in [your] every particular work of faith (faith which is that leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness.”
If you want to hang around with worthy people. . .proud yourself to be worthy.
Matthew 10:11 in the Contemporary English Version says:
“So when you go to a town or a village, find someone worthy enough to have you as their guest and stay with them until you leave.”
6. Do nothing through conceit.
There is only one thing you need to know about being conceited and it’s found in Proverbs 16:5 in the Contemporary English Version where it says:
“The LORD doesn't like anyone who is conceited-- you can be sure they will be punished.”
Do you need more clarification on what the scripture means? Consider the words of Proverbs 16:5 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“Everyone proud and arrogant in heart is disgusting, hateful, and exceedingly offensive to the Lord; be assured [I pledge it] they will not go unpunished.”
If you’re conceited. . .it is “…disgusting, hateful, and exceedingly offensive to the Lord...”
7. Do nothing through empty arrogance.
Here are seven things you need to know about being arrogant.
1. Arrogance will always be exposed.
1 Samuel 2:3 in the New Living Translation says:
“Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don’t speak with such arrogance! For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions.”
2. Arrogant people always lie.
Psalm 59:12 in the New Living Translation says:
“Because of the sins from their mouths and the words on their lips. Let them be trapped by their own arrogance because they speak curses and lies.”
3. Arrogance aborts wisdom from your life.
Proverbs 13:10 in the New Living Translation says:
“Arrogance produces only quarreling, but those who take advice gain wisdom.”
4. Arrogance knows no boundaries.
Proverbs 21:24 in the New Living Translation says:
“An arrogant, conceited person is called a mocker. His arrogance knows no limits.”
5. Arrogance at any level must be arrested.
2 Corinthians 10:5 in the New Living Translation says:
“And all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.”
6. Arrogance hangs out with some pretty nasty folks.
Mark 7:22 in the New Living Translation says:
“Greed, wickedness, cheating, shameless lust, envy, cursing, arrogance, and foolishness come from within a person.”
7. Wealth without a moral center.
Ezekiel 28:5 in the Contemporary English Version says”
“You're a clever businessman and are extremely wealthy, but your wealth has led to arrogance!”
I began this teaching with Philippians 2:1-4 and I want to close with that passage. This time from Message Bible which says:
“If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor:
“Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top.
“Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS