Showing posts with label Humility. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Humility. Show all posts

Friday, April 7, 2023

The ME Centered Life


American society seems to prioritize the individual over the community. I think this reality is reflected in our rampant consumerism. Consumerism is the constant acquisition of goods and services in the pursuit of happiness. This means we prioritize our own desires over the well-being of others and the environment. For example, we are willing to discard last year's model for the smallest improvement on this year's model.

This one of the reasons why I think the fundamental issue with consumerism narcissism. We tend to prioritize our own wants and desires, without considering the consequences of our actions. We often seek pleasure and immediate gratification, without thinking about the long-term effects on ourselves or others.

This narcissistic mentality is pervasive in the world. We can see it in a cheating spouse to a teenager seeking a quick high. Our world teaches us to chase the momentary pleasure without considering the long-term consequences of our actions. When we have this mind set what matters more than anything else is getting what we want.

However, a life centered solely around ourselves will eventually catch up with us, and the pain and misery of the consequences always outweigh the short-term pleasure we sought.

In his book Uprising, Erwin McManus wrote:

In the midst of our growing fragmentation, we have never been more focused on the individual than we are today. This focus plays itself out in unbridled consumerism. While materialism is certainly an outgrowth of consumerism, it isn’t its primary focus. Consumerism’s primary product in our culture is narcissism. Remember, narcissism is a life in which everything is about us.
While pursuing a life centered on ourselves may bring temporary pleasure, it inevitably leads to negative consequences that outweigh any enjoyment we may have experienced. Unfortunately, the world's solution to avoiding these consequences is to pursue an even more self-centered lifestyle.

However, the key to a fulfilling life is found in focusing on relationships with others, rather than on ourselves.

In contrast, the New Testament emphasizes the importance of community and loving one another. Our best experiences in life come from investing time and love in other people. If relationships are the most important thing to us, then we will prioritize loving others rather than gratifying our desires.

As the Apostle Paul wrote,

Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Ultimately, the life of a Christian is not about putting ourselves first but rather focusing on loving God and loving our neighbors. We are not the most important thing in the universe, and living our lives as if we were will lead to a dissatisfying existence. By prioritizing relationships and serving others, we can discover the fulfilling life that Jesus promised us.

The pursuit of a self-centered life may bring temporary pleasure, but it ultimately leads to negative consequences. The key to a fulfilling life is found in prioritizing relationships and focusing on others, rather than solely on ourselves.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Philippians: Lights in the World

STOP — Philippians 2:12-18


Paul wanted the Philippians to obey him in this teaching of humility. It wasn’t enough for them to do what is right when he was there, it was even more important to do it when he wasn’t there. When they lived a life of obedience they continued the work of salvation in their life. God would join them in this work. To live in humility and to work out their salvation meant they needed to quit grumbling and arguing, but live as holy people. Their good lives should make them stand out in the world around them. Paul wanted them and him to find joy in their humble obedience as they grew in their spiritual formation.


Our lives can be a light in the darkness when we follow the example of Jesus.


  1. The Philippians obeyed when Paul was around. They wanted to please him. Now Paul wants to emphasis that they need to obey even when he wasn’t there. Our obedience should not be dependent on who is watching us. True faith leads us to do the right thing even when there is no immediate benefit to us.
  2. We miss out on spiritual formation when we neglect living with humility and being obedient. We need to take this seriously, fear and trembling, and not just treat it as a nice optional thing to do.
  3. God is at work with us to transform our lives. So our transformation isn’t just about our effort, it is God working in us. We need to trust that He is at work.
  4. Two things we need to avoid, things that will effect our unity, are grumbling and arguing. It is our unity and working together in one purpose that helps us stand out, to shine like stars, in this world.
  5. Their continued spiritual formation is confirmation that Paul’s efforts are not being wasted. He needed to know that his sacrifice was making a difference.
  6. The Philippians should find joy in their spiritual formation, just as Paul did. We need to be joyful in the positive change that happens to those around us because of their faith.


Lord God, help me to be obedient. I want to experience the transformation you have for my life.

Tomorrow: Philippians 2:19-30

Friday, February 10, 2023

Philippians: Have the Attitude of Jesus


STOP — Philippians 2:5-11


For unity to exist there must be humility. The example for humility the Philippians are to follow is that of Jesus. Jesus is God, but when it came time to rescue the world for evil and destruction, Jesus didn’t think he needed to hold on to his rights as God, but he freely gave them up so he could become a servant, a great act of humility, so he could do what was best for his creation. His humility lead to the humiliation of death on the cross. Even though Jesus freely gave up his rights as God, God, because of Jesus’s humility, exalted Jesus above everything else in all of creation. This reveals God’s loving and gracious character and will lead all of creation to worship Him.


The humility of Jesus shows us that we will not miss out on blessing if we humble ourselves and let others go first.


  1. This connects back to Paul’s teaching that we should consider others better than ourselves and to think about their interests as well as our own interests. Paul wants us to know that this call to humility is us following the example of Jesus.
  2. Paul taught that Jesus is God. We may not understand all the mechanics of things, but what can understand is that Jesus voluntarily gave up rights due to him as God to rescue his creations from sin and evil.
  3. Jesus’s humility led him to the humiliation of the cross and death. Our humility will, most likely, be a lot less costly.
  4. “For this reason...” God exalts Jesus back to his status, gives him all authority, because he put the interests of others ahead of his own rights. God’s promise is that our sacrifice will not be in vain, that he will restore to us, and expand, all that was lost.
  5. The humble obedience of Jesus, along with our humble obedience, leads to God receiving the worship that He deserves.


Lord God, give me the wisdom, faith, and love that I need to follow the humble example of Jesus.

Tomorrow: Philippians 2:12-18

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Philippians: Think of Others

  STOP — Philippians 2:1-4


As citizens of God’s Kingdom the Philippians are to evaluate their lives. If they find that their lives are better, that they have encouragement, love, fellowship, mercy, then they are to take the next step and work for unity. They are not to think about themselves and their desires, rather they are to consider how they can love and serve each other.


God has given us good gifts so we should seek to honor Him by being united in love and purpose with each other.


  1. “If, then...” should have us looking backwards. Paul previously mentioned that he wants the Philippians to live as citizens of heaven, which means they are to live lives that are worthy of the Gospel. How do they know if they are living that type of life? They are to examine themselves: do they have encouragement in Christ or consolation of love?
  2. The first evidence of a life that is worthy of Jesus is the presence of encouragement, love, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the feelings of affection and mercy. The second evidence is the choice to work for unity, to share the love God had given them, and to work with the same purpose of bringing God’s grace and love into the world.
  3. The focus of our lives needs to shift for being selfish to humility. What does it mean to consider others better than ourselves? Maybe we see a vision of this with Abraham when he let Lot make the first choice of land. We can let other people go first because we are confident that God has enough blessing that we will not be left out.
  4. We need to an interest in the lives of other people. It is easy for us to be consumed with what is happening to us and therefore we miss out on the ways we can serve and love those around us. It is important that we choose to pay attention to the lives of other people.


Lord Jesus, I ask for the faith to trust that You are able to bless everyone, so I don’t have to be stingy with my time, attention, and love.

For tomorrow: Philippians 2:5-11

The Spiritually Mature Life: Having the Fruit

On Sunday, April 7, 2024, I started a new sermon series at Bethlehem Church called A Spiritually Mature Life. This sermon series is focused ...