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Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”

Are you a considerate person?  Do you consider other people’s feelings, thoughts, and desires before you consider your own?  If you are a truthful person, your answer would be for the most part, “no.”  We live in a world that promotes self- centeredness and self- gratification.

What this scripture says in essence is, regard someone else’s needs and wants, before you are concerned about your own.  That is a very difficult task for us to accomplish.  From birth, we are conditioned to get our needs met by any means necessary.  Babies cry until they get the nourishment they need, the rest they need, the clean diapers they desire, and the attention or the comfort they need to go on.   They are not concerned about pleasing others.  Even a 2 year old at some point learns to say, “NO!!” with the loudest and most violent voice they can conjure up in order to get their own way.  Children in general are very self- centered and driven toward self-gratification.

As Christians, our lives should be the complete opposite.  We should be striving to put others before ourselves just as Jesus did.  Jesus was the king but He voluntarily washed the feet of his disciples.  Jesus was perfect but He didn’t criticize others and put them down, He tried to be an encouragement to all he came in contact with.  What about you?  Are you considerate?  Do you go the extra mile to make other people happy or are you concerned primarily with YOU and YOURS.

I have two sons, ages 8 and 11.  My sons have a very bad habit of constantly asking, “What about me?”  When one of them is being complimented by myself of their dad, they automatically say, “Well, what about me.”  My response to that is “What about you?”  I have explained to them over and over that they are not twins and they aren’t the same person.  Since they are individuals, they will have different experiences, talents and gifts.  However, no matter how much explaining I do, they still default to, “What about me?  We have actually taken this negative reaction and made it into a positive.  We have all committed Phil. 2:3 to memory.  I tell my sons to point out on television, in print, or in real life, when people have not been treated equally and ask a “What about me?” question.  When Shaq’s stunt in the pre-game show wasn’t getting as much attention as another teams, he said, “I’ve been doing stunts like that forever and nobody ever said anything about me.”  Immediately upon hearing this, my son Joshua said, “Mommy, that’s a what about me?”  I told him he was right!  There have been several moments where we have pointed out a “What about me?” moment and said, they should be thinking of others and congratulating them, instead the person is thinking of themselves.  People, by nature are self-centered so it’s not difficult to find examples daily.

Another remedy for this “focus on self” was to take my sons to a Food Bank and allow them to serve the people.  This was certainly a huge eye-opener for them.  When we left, I asked them “What about them (the needy people)?”  I didn’t get a response but I believe they gained a true appreciation for their station in life.  Now, both my sons are more careful about how frequently they say, “What about me?”  I just thank God He gave me a way to deal with this in a positive way as well as making it a teaching moment.

Do you think of your spouse’s feelings before you think of your own?  How often do you have to stop yourself and say, “No, that’s me being selfish?”  I notice that since I’m purposefully trying to be better about my dealings with not only my husband but other people, I have to constantly ask myself, “Am I thinking about others first?”  If not, I have to regroup and try it again!  How often do you think of others?  How often do you say, my marriage isn’t working because of my spouse’s actions?  While no marriage is going to be perfect, it takes the effort of two committed people to resolve difficult issues. Recognizing our own faults is a huge first step.  In any relationship each person plays a pivotal role in the success and/or failure of it whether it be in marriage, friendship, or otherwise.  And with the help of the Lord, we can resolve many issues that would seem too difficult.

Pray today that you will think of others before yourself.  Pray that you will think of the actions of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and do as He would do.  Pray that you would be kind and loving to others and be known as a person who thinks of others first.  Pray that you would be kind and gentle to your spouse and he/she will respond in kind.  It seems that we are innately self-centered and have to intentionally try to be otherwise.   Try to commit the scripture to memory so that when you need to use it you can.  When you hear yourself saying, what about me on the inside, remember the scripture and don’t let it out!

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