It made me think about my relationship with my Heavenly Father, which has been suffering as of late to say the least. How often do I want God to "Look at me!" and "Watch me!". I believe He does, unfortunately when we don't want Him to look or watch, He still does. But each time we serve without wanting in return, there is a treasure in Heaven stored up. He beams with love and pride at His children. He looks upon us with favor saying "Well done My Child, you are a good and faithful servant.".
Not only did it make me think about my own relationship with Christ, but my relationship with others. I am always comparing myself to others. It's an awful characteristic of myself. Usually, I am comparing how I fall short to others. How terrible of a friend I am, how I look, how good of a Christian I am, ect. Every once in awhile when I do something good, I think of how good I am, then think of how awful I am to even think that I am awesome. Ultimately, I need to stop comparing, that much is evident. But there is so much more. Every time I am comparing myself it is just me. Just that. I am focusing on myself, whether good or bad, I am being selfish. I am going to say something pretty controversial here, but whether I focus on the good of me or the bad of me, I am being prideful. Prideful that Christ cannot create new traits in me because I am so awful or prideful that I am the best.
To dive in even further, if I continue to do so, I am not even coming close to esteeming others more valuable than myself as Philippians 2:1-4 urges me to. Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 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. Notice it doesn't say "better", just more valuable. The other thing I realized about this passage, is the very beginning, it says "if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ". Do I have such little encouragement that I think of myself so lowly or so highly? God has given each of us individual traits, spiritual gifts, if you will- why can't I just be confident in the mold He has created me in?
In Philippians 4:4-8 there is a whole portion that we always use as separate verses for different circumstances, but upon some reflection, I think they all go together. I am going to break them down in the way I read it this morning.
v. 4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" What's the first focus? Rejoicing in the Lord. That takes my selfishness off of me, and puts my focus where it should be.
v.5"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Our Lord was gentle. Am I going to be gentle with myself and others? Including their traits?
v. 6. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Why should I be anxious about what I think of myself or what others think of me? If I am following Philippians 2, then my petitions would be for others and not for myself. Just a thought.
v. 7"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." If I am doing all of the above, then the enemy will not be able to plant the lies of being worse or better in comparison.
v. 8 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." This is pretty self explanatory. Obviously, stop thinking about what might be better or worse and start thinking about what is the best. Look at others with love, not being critical. Encourage them. Praise them. Love them.
So those are my thoughts for this morning. I am off to play with little girls again!