Selfish ambition

Yesterday I said that humility is focusing on someone else more than self. Or, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but of yourself less.”

Jesus is our ultimate inspiration and example of humility. Since we want to be like him (1 John 2:6), we strive to be humble and other-focused for the benefit of others. Paul wrote: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

In the oldest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the word translated as “selfish ambition” is eritheia. It implies jealously or rivalry. So let me offer some practical ideas about how we can “Do nothing out of selfish ambition” in daily, down-to-earth ways:

–This might look like being the first to admit you’re wrong when you’re wrong. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition.”

–It might look like complimenting someone and wholeheartedly celebrating their successes without even a hint of jealousy. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition.”

–It might look like posting updates on social media that don’t just make it seem like your life is perpetually flawless. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition.”

I’m not suggesting any of this is easy. It takes practice. In fact, in a world of self-promotion and rugged individualism, we often don’t even know we’re doing it!

But by taking Jesus’ example seriously, and by becoming more aware of our own motives, we can jump off the non-stop hamster wheel called Ego.

It will give you more integrity as a servant-disciple, and make you more attentive and responsive to the people you want to bless.

By Matthew Ruttan

–Today’s devotional is connected to my most recent sermon: “Choosing Humility.” Click here to watch it on YouTube.

–Human Trafficking. It’s the nightmare that isn’t a dream. If you see me in a red bow tie it’s because I’m a part of FabFeb raising funds and awareness about human trafficking. I’m 60% to my goal! Click here to learn more, to see my interview with a local volunteer or to contribute.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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