Blogger: Rachel Kent
Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
“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. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Phil. 2:3-5 (NLT)
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Yikes! We all know what that means. Perfect humility. Laying down our lives for others.
Not at all! Especially not when we’re finally to the point in our lives where things are looking up. Books are selling well. We’re getting on best-seller lists. We have speaking engagements popping up right and left. We are getting fan mail! (Ooooooo.)
It’s easier to be humble when you are being humbled through life circumstances. It’s much harder to be humble when you can compare your life to others’ and you see that yours is lookin’ pretty good. None of us will ever be able to reach the point of perfection that Jesus had, but that’s what we’re supposed to strive for. How do we do this?
I can’t say it better than the verses above do.
1) Don’t be selfish.
2) Don’t try to impress others.
3) Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
4) Don’t look out only for your own interests but take an interest in others, too.
Note that you’re still supposed to look out for your own interests, but remember you’re supposed to think of others as better than yourself. In a perfect world, those people would be treating you the same way, but we can’t count on that. Jesus is the best example of dealing with the unreciprocated giving . He ultimately died on the cross for all of us who don’t deserve salvation at all.
If Christian authors, editors, publishers and agents all lived life according to these verses, Christian publishing would function much better. Let’s try to do our part!
Do you think comparing your life to the lives of others is what causes ego in the first place? Or is it the ego that causes us to want to compare?
Perplexing post, but a good topic to bring up. Too often we forget our talents are given to us by our Creator. While it is up to us to use them in the way He guides us to, it’s very easy to think we’ve created our success all alone.
As for your question. It seems like both could be true. If a successful person is comparing herself to others, perhaps she thinks she’s better than those around her, creating the ego. If however, a child grows up with parents who believe they are better than others, she may inherit a lack of humility, so the ego causes her to compare herself to other people. Neither is good for humanity as whole.
Thank you for reminding me of the importance of humility.
I truly think ego is a manifestation of our need for dominance.
I think the tough part about having egos is that few people with big heads actually realize they have it. Mine gets me into trouble a great deal, so I really have to watch it as it’s not always obvious that my ego’s starting to swell.
I know people who take pride in how awful their lives are. You know, “my life is worse than yours, let me tell you why.” We’re all hopelessly self-centered. We argued in Sunday School once that there’s no such thing as a selfless act. Even when you do good, you generally do it because it makes YOU feel good in some way (less guilty, more noble, less ashamed, etc.). I think the best you can hope to do is teach yourself to take pride in generosity, humility and kindness.
Janet Ann Collins
Humility isn’t just thinking you’re inferior to others, it’s knowing your place. In a world with so much competition that’s not easy to do. Yes, we do need not to think too highly of ourselves, but we also need to remember we have value as beloved children of God who gave us gifts to use, not to hide away thinking we’re not good enough.
Great post! And Sarah Thomas has a great point about self-pity. One of our pastors said self-pity and arrogance are the flip sides of the same coin – pride. That focus on self rather than focus on God and others gets us in trouble every time. Personally, whenever my head gets a bit big, God gives it a good whack. Which I appreciate.
And Janet has a great point. Humility isn’t feeling worthless, it’s realizing our worth comes from Christ alone, that our strength comes from Christ alone – that anything good in us comes from Christ alone. Rather than making me feel like a slimy worm, that fills me with confidence that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Recognizing the source of strength in our lives keeps us humble.
In Donald Miller’s book “Searching for God Know What,” he addresses our preoccupation of comparing ourselves with one another. It is in chapter 7, “Adam, Eve, and the Alien.”
Check it out; no one can say it like Donald Miller can.