Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Come Let Us Sing Of A Wonderful Love"1 (Lyrics)
Philippians 2:3-4 – 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. (NIV 2011)
"It's not all about you!" a grade three teacher proclaimed one day when a pupil raised his hand and told her to stop reading. He needed to go to the washroom, but didn't want to miss story time. He expected the entire class to accommodate his own interest. The teacher refused … thankfully.
How well this pupil grasped the reproof remains a mystery; but I do know one pupil who got it. It was Maddie, my granddaughter. She told me about the incident. That gave me an opportunity to reinforce a moral virtue. I said to Maddie, "She is a wise teacher. That's true: It's not all about you … or me … or anyone. The world does not revolve around us." Maddie got it! And I praised God for one teacher who resisted the prevailing culture of entitlement.
This is not merely about a social value. It's about the ancient lie, "Ye shall be as gods", as promised to Eve (Genesis 3:5 KJV). That lie is embedded in the human psyche. It goes like this: "The world revolves around me; I have a right to expect everyone to bow to my insatiable lust for self-centered autonomy." Today, this insidious lie is nearly enshrined as a human right. The outcome is predictable: not freedom and life, but bondage and destruction.
Lest we get gloomy over this, let's see it through the lens of hope: God's plan of salvation. Salvation is, in essence, God liberating sinners from the lie by birthing Christ's Spirit of truth within. That's salvation! Christ is the great antidote for the lie. Christ is the One who counteracts the lie in and through His saved ones. That becomes our destiny! We are called to resist the lie by advancing His truth.
We resist the lie by recognizing its effects and then reversing its direction. It may mean that we turn our thoughts from self-absorption to the interests of others, or we invite someone to consider an idea outside of their own opinion. We resist the lie by seizing the momentary opportunities — like my conversation with Maddie. There's no end of opportunities.
Collectively, let us serve as God's "resistance movement". Let us resist the ancient lie and instead advance His truth through our ordinary lives. In our habits of thinking, speaking, and doing, let us put the interests of others ahead of self-interest. In small ways, we will help to bring life and hope into a world ensnared in the deadly lie.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to recognize the subtle influence of the lie within us and around us. Teach us to abhor the self-centered passions that are so admired by others. Subdue our own rebel lusts. Transform us, that we may effectively advance Your truth in a world dominated by the lie. May it all be for Your name's sake. Amen.