Whose Interest?

“Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy’s proven worth.” Philippians 1:27; 2:1-8,19-22a

A manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ looks like that of Jesus. God’s children, having received encouragement, love, and the indwelling Spirit from Him, develop His mind and ways through ongoing sanctification. Paul urges the Philippians to pursue this unity of mind and love, centering their interests and devotion on their Sovereign. A pure and surrendered mind of Christ then inspires selfless living that transfers focus on self to the interests of others.

Interests of all kinds entice and cajole, and beckon us to sit a while and spend a lot. The enemy would have us focus on anything but the Lord, especially ourselves. With every such investment, we’re also deciding where not to take interest. Time spent on pampering and self-improvement is time not spent on helping others, unless physical health and strength need attention in order to make us able. Interest in my chosen topics can dominate conversation, selfish proclivities can rob someone else from exercising their gifts. Are we aware how much our own interests drive expenditure of time and resources that could be steered elsewhere? Am I robbing from God by personal pride and indulgence? (Malachi 3:8-10)

What does putting the interests of Christ and others first look like? It’s taking no effort to be served, but serving with generosity and zeal. It’s sacrificing with abandon for the needs of others and glory of Christ. It’s putting aside anger and bitterness to forgive others, because Christ has forgiven us. It’s spending and being spent for the sake of another’s spiritual welfare. It’s loving with patience and kindness, not keeping count of wrongs or taking advantage or demeaning another. It’s removing ourselves from the limelight and putting the focus and glory on Jesus. It’s faithfully living before others a life fixed on the hope of heaven, not material gain. It’s working humbly side by side agreeably, setting aside differences for the greater good. (Mark 10:45; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Ephesians 4:31-32; Philippians 2:14-15,17,30; 3:7-9,17-21; 4:2-5,14-18)

Lord, captivate my whole interest. May my energy and talents be spent on glorifying You and bringing benefit to others.

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