Written by Rachel Denison
“Do nothing from rivalry 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.” –Philippians 2:3-4
Why does this have to be so much harder than it sounds? I mean, I’ve really been sucking at this whole “counting others more significant than myself” thing lately. It feels like all I can think about is myself and my own situation. Sure, I’m extremely uncomfortable. I’m almost 41 weeks pregnant. I’m irritable and moody, and very discontent. But I don’t think Paul is saying, “Hey! Everyone who’s not 40 weeks, look to the interests of others and consider them more important than yourself.” I’m not excluded from this command even though it’s the end of August in Texas, and I’m still the size of a whale.
I think more than anything I feel tired of the excuses. I’ve been told for months now to pull the pregnancy card, milk all the privileges and to take advantage of people’s kindness toward me. I’m tired of allowing pregnancy to be an excuse for being negative or self-centered.
The closer I get to having this baby, the more my eyes have focused inward. Yes, physical discomfort is a pain, and there are real reasons to get the R&R I need. But I know better than to give into the misery and negativity everyone says I’m allowed to have. Anytime things get harder, grace increases. And I’m choosing right now to change my thinking.
In Scripture, humility comes before grace. And that’s just the next step for me. In acknowledging my inability to muster up sacrificial love for others on my own right now, I know God will freely give to me all I need. The weight of the command to love others well doesn’t decrease in my time of weakness. Instead, his grace and power for me abounds.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” –2 Corinthians 12:9
In this final haul, I want to love people well: my husband, my family, my coworkers and friends. I don’t want to expect them to treat me favorably, even though they likely will (because they’re amazing). I want to strive to treat them with honor and kindness first, looking to their needs before they have a chance to look to mine. This is likely setting me up well for the endless nights of crying and diaper changes ahead… and that’s probably exactly what God intends in this little lesson for me right now. I don't have to strive or work harder in my time of weakness, I just have to submit myself to him and admit that I am weak. Aren’t you glad he’s good? We have the best heavenly Father, always calling us higher—not for his sake, but for our own. I’m thankful he offers us the road less traveled because it leads to real life abundant and greener pastures. I pray we all model the posture of Jesus—a posture of joyful humility.
“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. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” –Philippians 2:5-11