4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
In our society, it is a foreign idea to look to the interests of others before our own. This is exhibited through current marketing campaigns. It has become common, especially around the Christmas season, for promotions to include a personal motivation for buying gifts for others. An example of this is the incentive of a bonus gift card when purchasing a gift card of a certain amount. These types of campaigns motivate us because we receive a tangible benefit while giving to another. In this, we are looking to the needs of others, but also looking to our own needs.
We don’t have to look at outside examples to show that it is difficult to consider the needs of others before our own. Our hearts testify to this as well. Apart from Christ, it is natural to look out for self first. We find ways to excuse this type of self-seeking behavior with phrases like, “I can’t let people walk all over me” or, “I have to make sure my own needs are met.” But the reality is, we are always prone toward self-preservation over sacrifice for others.
In this passage, Paul was writing to the church in Philippi. Those who have been redeemed by Christ no longer have to “look out for number one” because they have been provided for completely by Christ. He has given us everything we need. Because this is true, the principle Paul gave here extends beyond just the church and into our communities.
Since we have everything we need in Christ, we can consider others more highly than ourselves. This stands out in our culture that values self over sacrifice. When we give priority to the needs of others over self, we show that Christ is our treasure and that other people are more important than our ability to gain more in this life.
• Where have you valued things over people, even if those are legitimate needs?
• How might you seek to specifically sacrifice for the sake of others this week?
• Pray and thank God that He has given you everything you need in Christ. Ask Him to show you ways He is calling you to sacrifice for the sake of others in our church and in our community.