Philippians 2:4 - Selfishness or Selflessness and the Love of Others.
Philippians 2:4 (NIV) Each of you should
look not only to your own interests, but also to
the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4 (NLT) Dont look out only
for your own interests, but take an interest in
Selfishness and self-centeredness can be
found at the core of most interpersonal problems.
Each one wants his or her own way; one withholds
what should be shared; the other consumes what
should be saved. There is no end to the cycle of
"I will do it my way!" That is, until Jesus
Christ is made Lord in your life! When Jesus is
Lord, self is displaced; as we continue to
surrender, self dwindles. The degree to which Jesus
reigns in your heart determines your ability to
give instead of take. Because of Jesus,
relationships are changed: we become willing to share,
and give. How are you doing in this area?
Examine the core of interpersonal problems in your
life, and where necessary, change them with God's
help. [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]
When was the last time you snapped a
selfie? Last night? When you woke up today? Last
On the other hand, if I asked you, "Are
you vain and self-absorbed?" you would probably
say, "Of course not, Craig!' and then you'd think
what a rude person I must be for asking. But the
truth is that in our social-media-saturated world,
we face more temptations than ever before to
value ourselves too highly. From what we post as
our status to our ubiquitous selfies, we become
the star in our very own reality series called
As followers of Jesus, however, we're
called to put others before ourselves. God tells us
not to be so focused on our appearance and what
we're going to wear and eat and do next. Instead
we should look for ways we can serve those in
need. Our culture encourages us to chase after our
fifteen minutes of fame, but God tells us to focus
on investing ourselves in things with eternal
value. While it's not always easy, with Christ as
our role model, putting others first is always
Today step out of your spotlight and let
someone else be the star of the show as you serve
Lord, it's not always easy to quit
thinking about myself, but I want to put others
first. Remind me that in order to find my life I
must lose it. [Daily Power by Craig Groeschel]
ILLUSTRATION PEARL 1
Years ago, to celebrate our anniversary,
my husband gave me a gold necklace with a
pendant: two small golden geese flying side by side.
The geese represent eternal love.
Geese mate for life. If a goose becomes
too old or sick to continue in formation with
the rest of the flock, the mate and another
goose will fly with the weaker one between them to
a place with food and water. The two will wait
and comfort the weaker one until either it is
able to fly or it dies. Only then will the
stronger geese join another flock, where they will be
welcomed as newcomers.
Geese fly in a V formation. The goose in
front actually creates air movement that makes
flying easier for the birds behind. When the lead
bird grows weary, another moves into lead
position. The oldest and youngest geese fly at the
back of the V and honk like a cheering section
for those ahead. By working together as a unit,
these birds can fly great distances that they
could never manage alone.
How much we can learn about loyalty from
geese! Proverbs 17:17 reminds us that "A friend is
always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time
of need." We need to seek out those friends who
will support us when we are weak, stick with us
no matter what, and cheer us on when we step
out to lead. Do we exhibit that kind of loyalty
to our spouses and those close to us?
When we are committed to others'
well-being - when we value them above ourselves and put
their interests first, as Paul instructs the
Philippians - we are imitating Jesus and taking on His
mind-set. He is the ultimate faithful friend.
May we stay faithful and committed to our
spouses "until death do us part." May we take turns
in a leadership position and cheer one another
on for the long journey ahead. And may we
always welcome newcomers and the lost.
Lord God, YOU are the only One who is
fully faithful. I am grateful that You will stick
by me no matter what. Thank You for the people
in my life who show that same kind of loyalty
to me. Please help me to extend it to others
too, whether it's my spouse, other family
members, friends, or those around me. I want to be a
reflection of You. [Earth Psalms by Francine Rivers]
ILLUSTRATION PEARL 2
New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera
made his career getting the hardest three outs in
baseball - the last three. Rivera set more than
twenty-five pitching records, including becoming the
all-time saves leader. A pitcher earns a save by
clinching a victory after throwing at least one inning
with his team ahead by no more than three runs.
In other words, every time Rivera stepped on
the mound, it was a pressure-packed situation.
Rivera notched his record 602nd save on
September 19, 2011, against the Minnesota Twins. After
the game, instead of bragging about his
accomplishment, Rivera did what he'd always done - focused
on his teammates and God.
"The whole organization, my whole
teammates have been a pillar for me," Rivers told a
Fox News reporter. "I always have to talk about
God, because that's the most important thing in
my life. Yes, there have been bumps in the
road, but God gave me the strength."
Only twenty-one pitchers in the history
of baseball have tallied half the number of
saves that Rivera has earned. When asked during an
ESPN radio interview if being called the greatest
closer embarrassed him, Mariano answered: "Yea, it
does. It does make me uncomfortable because I
don't like to talk about myself. I just want to be
able to contribute as much as I can for the team.
And the rest is just blessings from the Lord."
Mariano Rivera's talent and humility made
him one of the most beloved baseball players of
all time. Even his opponents respected him. He
played the game like he lived his life, according
to Philippians 2:3-4: "In humility value others
above yourselves, not looking to your own
interests but each of you to the interests of the
Jesus lived out those words, but to an
even greater degree. Nobody had more to brag
about than Jesus Christ. But you never heard him
say, "Hey, check me out. I'm God's Son. I can
walk on water." Instead of demanding to be served
on earth, he made himself a servant and humbled
himself on the cross to die for our sins.
Sometimes we might be tempted to brag if
we ace a test, nail a game-winning shot, or get
the lead in a play. At those times, remember
Jesus' example and act humbly. [Case For Christ For
Kids by Les Strobel]
Selflessness and Relationships
Selflessness brings out the best in
others. It builds relationships. What does it mean
to be selfless? It means you think a little
less of yourself and a little more of others.
The opposite of selflessness is
selfishness. Its the number one cause of conflict and
arguments. The Bible says, What causes fights and
quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires
that battle within you? You want something but
don't get it (James 4:1-2 NIV).
Self-centeredness destroys relationships.
One night I got into bed three seconds
before Kay did. When she got into bed, she asked if
I locked all the doors. But in those three
seconds, I pretended to be almost asleep and
whispered, No. She then got up and locked all the
doors. Theres a word for what I did"selfish,
pure, and simple.
The problem is, being selfish is human
nature. We naturally think about our interests, our
hurts, how we look, and how we feel. Even culture
tells us: Do what you think is best for you.
But the Bible says, Look out for one
anothers interests, not just for your own.
(Philippians 2:4 GNT).
What happens when you look out for one
anothers interests, not just for your own? Not
only will it transform your relationships - it
will transform people. It causes the other person
to change because youre not the same person
anymore, allowing them to relate to you in a
Ive seen it many times: When you treat
cranky, unlikable people with kindness, instead of
treating them the way they deserve, they transform
into nice people.
The greatest lesson in life is learning
to be unselfish - but it wont happen
overnight. Its going to take the rest of your life.
The good news is, God doesnt leave you
all alone to learn how to be selfless. Romans
8:26 says, The Holy Spirit helps us in our
Never stop making the effort to be more
selfless. Gods Spirit is with you to help you break
the cycle of selfishness! And its then will
you see transformation in all your
relationships. [Daily Devotional by Rick Warren:
Selflessness and Giving in Relationships
God wants you to learn that you can give
without loving but you cannot love without giving.
You say, I really love my kids! Do
you give them your time? I really love my
wife. Do you give her your attention? This is what
love is all about. You become more loving when
you become more generous.
Every time youre generous, a change
takes place in you. Every time you give, your
heart moves another tweak up the dial toward God.
You become more loving every time you give. You
become more like Jesus.
Philippians 1:11 says, May you always
be filled with the fruit of your salvation -
the righteous character produced in your life by
Jesus Christ - for this will bring much glory and
praise to God (NLT).
What were talking about here is
extremely countercultural, because our society does
not tell you to give. Our culture is constantly
telling us to get. Its all about me. Me, my
stuff, my needs - me, me, me. We have a me
When youre generous, it gets the focus
off you so that you can stop thinking about
yourself and start thinking about others. Philippians
2:4-5 says, Dont look out only for your own
interests, but take an interest in others, too. You
must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus
had (NLT). [Daily Devotional by Rick Warren:
Selflessness and Being Understood in
When youre in conflict, the loving and
Christlike way to defuse the tension is to seek to
understand before seeking to be understood. Try to
figure out what the other person is thinking and
saying before you start trying to convince them
convince them of your side. You cannot hope to be
understood until you are willing to do the same for
The Bible says, A person who answers
without listening is foolish and disgraceful
(Proverbs 18:13 ICB).
We are often so busy trying to get people
to see it our way that we dont stop to
listen to what they are saying.
Thats why you need to say, You go
first. And then, after theyve shared, you say,
Now, let me see if I understand. Youre saying
(repeat to them what you understood they were
communicating to you). Did I get this right? That gives
them a chance to correct and not just be
understood but also feel understood.
Seeking to understand first also allows
you to see the other persons perspective.
Philippians 2:4-5 says, Dont look out only for
your own interests, but take an interest in
others, too. You must have the same attitude that
Christ Jesus had (NLT).
Were in the thick of a pandemic filled
with a lot of heated discussion around the best
way to move forward. Everyone has their own
perspective, but it seems like no one is willing see
anyone elses perspective. All we can see is our
own side of things.
If youre not willing to seek to
understand and acknowledge other perspectives, youre
not going to be able to see the hurt of other
people. You wont see their fear, their pain, or
the injustice theyve faced.
That is not the way of Jesus Christ. He
was always looking beyond himself to the needs
of others. Even on the cross, he was thinking
Its not easy to think of others before
yourself. It certainly isnt natural. You are, by
nature, a self-centered person. So am I! Left to my
own devices, I will always choose to look out
for myself before I look out for others.
Only Jesus can change my perspective -
and yours. Only Jesus can make you more
interested in someone elses interests than in your
own. When you take on the character of Christ,
the desire to understand before being understood
becomes more natural. Only then can you work through
conflict as you think of others before yourself.
[Daily Devotional by Rick Warren:
Selflessness and Arguing
When you meet someone to resolve a
conflict, you first have to confess your part of the
problem. Then, you need to listen for the other
persons hurt and perspective.
We think we argue over ideas. But we
actually argue over emotion. Anytime theres a
conflict, someones feelings were hurt. Somebody
felt abused. Somebody felt slighted. Its not
the idea that causes the conflict. Its the
emotion behind the idea.
Hurt people hurt people. The more people
are hurting, the more they lash out at everybody
else. People who arent hurting dont hurt
others. People who are filled with love are loving
toward others. People who are filled with joy are
joyful to others. People who are filled with peace
are at peace with everybody else. But people who
are hurting inside are going to hurt others.
Theyre going to lash out.
If you want to connect with people, you
must start with their needs, their hurts, and
their interests. If you want to be a good
salesperson, you dont start with your product. You
start with your customers need, hurts, and
interests. If you want to be a good professor or pastor
or anything else, you start with peoples
needs, hurts, and interests.
Philippians 2:4-5 says, Dont look
out only for your own interests, but take an
interest in others, too. You must have the same
attitude that Christ Jesus had (NLT).
Are you often so busy trying to get the
people youre in conflict with to see your
position that youre not listening to theirs?
Youre too busy speaking and not listening, so you
move further and further away.
You need to intentionally switch your
focus from your needs to their needs. Conflict
resolution starts with the way you look at the
situation. The word look in Philippians 2:4 is
the Greek word scopos. Its where we get our
words microscope and telescope.
Scopos means to focus. The next verse
says your attitude should be the same as that of
Jesus Christ. You are most like Jesus when
youre focusing on the hurts of somebody else
rather than your own.
Theres an old Proverb that says,
Seek to understand before seeking to be
understood. When youre focused on the other
persons needs and not your own, youll be able to
get a better understanding of the situation and
move forward with resolving your conflict. [Daily
Devotional by Rick Warren:
I love the story of a sea captain who,
while navigating his ship through a storm, found
himself on a collision course with what he thought
was a large vessel in the distance. He ordered
the approaching vessel to alter its course ten
degrees south. The reply came back: "Alter your
course ten degrees north." Incensed, the captain
shot back, "Alter your course ten degrees south.
This is the Captain! I am a battleship!" The
reply came back: "Alter your course ten degrees
north. This is ensign third class. I am a
It's the attitude that is most important.
We can choose to preach ourselves and pull rank
and risk a shipwreck of all our relationships.
Or we can choose to avoid disaster, realize
there are some things we simply do not know, and
humbly alter our course.
Perhaps the finest model of humility,
other than Christ Himself, was that young Jew from
Tarsus who was radically transformed from a
strong-willed Pharisee named Saul to a bond servant of
Jesus Christ called Paul.
It's possible you have the notion that
the apostle Paul rammed his way through life
like a fully loaded battleship at sea. Blasting
and pounding toward objectives, he was just too
important to worry about those who got in his way.
Frankly, when he was Saul that pretty much summed up
his approach. So, what happened? He met the
Savior"and that changed everything . . . especially his
attitude toward others.
Take a moment to reflect on Paul's advice:
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.
That's more like it!
Do you know that your attitude today
could very well determine if someone around you
resists God's invitation to bow before Him in
repentance? Maybe it's time to stand down and defer
rather than stand up tall and pull rank. Perhaps
this would be a good opportunity for you to
reconsider your approach to the situation you face
today. Before you make another move or say another
word, bow before the Lord in prayer.
Ask Him to make you more like Paul than
Saul. [Chuck Swindoll www.insight.org.]
LINKS FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS TOPIC
1 Corinthians 10:24 - For The Good Of Others
And The Glory Of God.
Mark 12:29-31 - Love for God and Mankind;
Spirit and Summary of The Ten Commandments.
If anyone has a paraphrase, commentary or
testimony on this passage of Scripture, either
personal or otherwise, I would be interested in
hearing from you. Thanks in advance and let's keep
uplifting Jesus that all might be drawn to Him. Fred
LINKS WORTH CHECKING OUT
Most Important Decision in Life:
Steps to Peace by Billy Graham:
A Man without Equal by Bill Bright:
Seeking God Made Real:
Prayer Made Real:
Importance of Choice:
http://creationhealth.com/CREATION-Health/Choice [click on video]
Medical Seminar on Healthful Living by David
DeRose, MD, MPH:
LINKS FOR BIBLE STUDIES
Lifting Up Jesus Bible Studies:
Amazing Facts Bible Studies:
Hope Awakens Bible Study Guides:
Glow Tract Video Bible Studies:
LINKS FOR BIBLE PROPHECY SEMINARS
Islam and Christianity in Prophecy, The
Third and Final Conflict by Tim Roosenberg:
Unlocking Bible Prophecies by Cami Oetman of
Adventist World Radio: https://www.awr.org/bible
Revelation Now by Pastor Doug Batchelor:
Hope Awakens by John Bradshaw of IIW:
Prophecies Decoded by Pastor Ron Clouzet: