To start off the year our church participates in a 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. This is something that I always look forward to because God always uses it to stretch me in some way. During the fast God really laid on my heart this verse from Philippians 2:3-5. And it says: “Do nothing out of Selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should not look only to your own interest, but the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
After passionately praying for God to show me something new during these 21 days of focused prayer and fasting, He said (in that still small voice I recognized as His) that I (and all of us as followers of Christ) need to stop thinking about and focusing on the things that I (we) want, and instead start asking God how He wants to use us to serve others. The beginning of verse 3 says “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit”! So if we do nothing out of selfish ambition then we need to do everything in humility. This brings to mind a picture of a shady businessman that is always trying sell something extra that I don’t need only to benefit himself and make a quick buck! Or the businessman who is willing to walk all over anyone and make “political” plays in order to get ahead. God’s not in the business of giving us a quick buck or at the expense of others. He wants to invest in lives, not win some power struggle over them (though He’d have every right and ability to). Because of Jesus, He has invested literally everything, His most valuable possessions, in the lives of all those He has created and are purposed for His glory.
So when we are praying and seeking God let’s start praying for others. If we are in a place of needing healing, let’s consider and pray for others illnesses before our own. Let’s pray for a financial breakthrough in Billy Bob’s life first – considering, thinking about, praying for him before ourselves. The truth is that God knows your heart and your needs and cares deeply just like a good Father does. And He absolutely does hear and answers all of our prayers according to His perfect will and in a way that will bring glory to Him and be the absolute best for us, often better than we can plan for ourselves.
If we look at the last part of the verse 5 it says: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Jesus was able to maintain this awesome attitude because of the relationship that He had with His Father, our same Heavenly Father. Through His communication and relationship with God, Jesus gives us living examples throughout scripture of what our attitude should be and how it should look.
Below are just a few verses where we are given the example and instruction of the right attitude – that of Christ’s. Think about these examples and ask God to give you the same Christ-like attitude, enabling you to grow in humility and helping you to put the interests of other people before your own:
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” – Philippians 1:27
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” – Ephesians 5:1
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16