It took me a long time to realize that the Bible isn’t just a big long book of must-do and never-do checklists to prove how good you are. As a type-A recovering people-pleaser I was usually afraid to open Scripture. Would it make me feel like a failure? What if I wasn’t living up to the expectations on the pages? I barely even KNEW the expectations so I was sure I was messing it all up.
But the more I’ve come to learn who God is – that a relationship with Him isn’t just lists of ways to be good, do good, or try harder – the more I’ve come to love Scripture. It’s like a friend who wants what’s best for you. She wants to share her favorite new mascara, her new one-pot cooking recipe that will make your crazy soccer nights easier, and offers wisdom when you just aren’t sure what to do next.
Scripture is there to guide us. Like a letter written from a trusted mentor, it’s full of stories – mistakes made, lessons learned, and wisdom gained. And it’s from the only One who could never lie to us, so it makes sense to read it and believe it.
Jealousy isn’t something we usually talk about with our friends. It’s embarrassing to admit that you struggle with it, and it made me feel like a failure to know that I couldn’t just think enough good thoughts or do enough nice things to make it go away. So I turned to the Bible. I wanted to see what God had to say about it – see where I’d made a wrong turn and be encouraged that a new path was possible.
- Read Philippians 2:3 in any Scripture translation you prefer.
- Now, grab a notebook, post-it, or note card and write it out.
I like the HCSB version: “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.”
Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philippi to thank them, encourage them, and warn them. He was very much aware that division in the body would threaten the church, so, like a good friend and mentor, he offered wisdom.
Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit.
When you log on to social media, do you start to feel competitive? Do you – intentionally or otherwise – try to come up with a better blog post, a nicer image, a more compelling caption than “her”? It’s hard. It really is – especially if God has gifted you with similar talents. But there is a solution.
In humility, consider others as more important than yourself.
That one’s hard to swallow sometimes, isn’t it? So much of the messaging we hear from the world tells us we need to fight for our place, not let anyone walk all over us, be independent and do whatever it takes to win. But Scripture likes to take us to the upside down place (Stranger Things reference, anyone?) and show us a better way.
You will not fall behind if you put others first. It feels counter-intuitive but it’s true. God can’t work where pride has taken up residence. He shines best through a humble heart. And we do better work for His kingdom when we can lay aside our pride and focus on the task at hand. You will look different from the rest of the internet, your community, your workplace – and guess what?
That’s exactly the point of following Christ.
- What do you think of when you hear the word “humble”?
- What are you afraid might happen if you put other first?
- What could God do in your life if you followed Paul’s advice?