Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Philippians 2:3NIV)
Sometimes I think I’ve been cursed. I say this to myself on occasions since I have a high IQ, coupled with a ‘balanced brain’ – everyone favours their right hemisphere or their left hemisphere in their thinking; right equals logical thinking, left is the creative side. A test I did many years ago confirmed why I couldn’t decide which I favoured: I’m exactly 50:50! This means I see things that others don’t, and can appreciate (AND might even concur on occasions) with both sides of an argument. I analyse and investigate the minutiae of things, and I get frustrated when others show neither the desire nor the ability to do the same. It CANNOT be a curse, though, as I’m ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14) ‘in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:27), which means that all my faculties of mind including my reason, language, intelligence and discernment, are properties of his divine nature that I am the mirror of, in my own unique way, as is every human being.
Thus I find it very easy to get conceited, and this is where I have to watch myself. The command quoted above from Paul, writing to the Philippians, reminds me how I have to think of others as of greater value than me. I don’t like it, I’d much rather just think I’m of a superior intellect and that’s that, but I’m a Christian, and beholden to the principles of scripture. That means all the commands, the hard ones as well as the easy ones. Let’s face it, who really wants to love their enemies? (Matthew 5:44) Don’t we all just love to have things and people to hate?
So, I find myself reminding myself continually about humility and its real nature: when everyone around me is singing that awful song that has NOTHING to do with praising the Lord, I have to pray for humility. When nobody listens to what I have to say, I have to pray for humility. When my wife is doing that annoying thing she always does for the nth time!!!! – I have to pray for humility.
Why? Because I am COMMANDED to value (consider, esteem, count, regard, honour – take your own pick of a version) others as BETTER (above, more important, more excellent) than myself. THAT is the Way of Christ: “After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet…” (John 13:4)
BTW, as an aside, most English Bible versions use ‘yourself’ or ‘yourselves’ when the original Greek is actually 3rd person plural (themselves) – I THINK the verb is a 3rd person imperative, which we don’t have in English, but the intriguing thing for me is that it’s plural. Why? I shall investigate…
Grace be with you.