Sunday, May 8, 2011

Who is Better Than You

Who is Better Than You
May 9, 2010
Philippians 2:3 " . . . Rather, in humility value others above yourselves . . ."

This world is full of stupid people. You've thought it, but I've said it. There are so many people we run into, day in and day out, who just get on our nerves to the point we consider them to be stupid, ignorant, obnoxious--we each have a word to describe the people who irritate us. While this is rather offensive, we've all had these thoughts, if we are willing to be honest with ourselves. We often FEEL this way toward others, whether or not it is valid, and these thoughts begin to devalue the person in our own eyes. We think slightly less of them and therefore begin to treat them with a small degree of annoyance or disdain. I know I have a few co-workers that I have written off as being less than their full potential (and I have certainly had my share of bosses of whom I thought this as well). But when we find ourselves thinking these thoughts about our fellow man, we must think of the verse in Philippians 2:3, "Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." Some translations of the Bible read, "Consider others [BETTER] than yourselves."

So, how do we go about considering someone better than ourselves, when clearly they are not (or at least not in our eyes)? Well, first we have to get into the mindset that there is NO ONE better or worse, simply different. God values each and every one of us the same, without having favorites. If God can value that "stupid person," then certainly you and I can do the same. But the verse in Philippians really isn't saying we should consider or value someone over ourselves, as most of us understand the word "better." The verse is advising us against being haughty or prideful of what we have or have accomplished. The verse is telling us to hope for the best for other people, desiring all the fullness of life that God has for them. The verse is telling us to work towards a successful outcome for others, the same way we would work for our own ends.

If you look at the Scriptures immediately before and after this verse, it gives an example of Jesus sacrificing His life for us so that we may have the best outcome in our own lives. Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice for us when He suffered on this earth and willingly laid down His life. We certainly are not better than Jesus, but He gave us an example of working hard for someone else's own ends instead of His own. If you are familiar with the Scripture in Romans that reads, ". . . in all things God works for the good of those who love Him," then you can further understand Jesus' example. Jesus, in His act of service to us, was working things out for our own good. He was considering us of great value, valuable enough to die for, as He desired good things for us.

So, those "stupid people" with whom you wish to not associate anymore, are actually your service project. God wants you, every time you consider someone less than functioning at full capacity, to work in service to them. It is your job to work towards and hope for and pray for a better life and outcome for your fellow man and his situation. This is HARD, but there is a reward. If you read the rest of Philippians chapter 2, you will see that Jesus, because He paid the ultimate sacrifice considering others better than Himself, was exalted high above everyone else, having a name and reputation second to none. This is an example of God wanting to lift you up and reward you in Heaven, too. But it also has earthly repercussions. I've tried this, serving others whom I thought were a little less deserving of a pedestal, working for their best interests. In doing so, I developed a good reputation and respect from these people, having a name above reproach in their eyes. And they, in turn, want the best for me and are now willing to work toward MY best interests.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Acts 10:34, Romans 8:28, Philippians 2

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