From Comparison to Consideration

13 Aug

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4

I have spent a lot of time in my life comparing myself to others. Sometimes I let jealousy and envy take control as I see the accomplishments of others as more impressive than my own. When that happens I default to one of two choices: discouragement or assuming a defensive posture, which means I kick my activity into high gear to prove that I am just as capable of success as the one I am comparing myself to.

Either choice is useless and draining.

I don’t know what the other person has had to go through to get to where they are, what challenges they have overcome, what struggles they continue to have. It could be that God has simply chosen to bless them differently. So my responses, disappointment or one upmanship, are both selfish reactions, mired in pride and insecurity.

In contrast, Paul describes a third choice that takes the focus off of me and places it on others. “Consider others better than yourselves…” – not an easy task! And its not possible to do when I think I am superior because of my position, knowledge or wealth.

We need to train ourselves to see others as better than us. avoiding the temptation to be envious. Not that we do a skill-by-skill, accomplishment-by-accomplishment evaluation and always see ourselves as inferior. Instead we acknowledge the other person’s strengths and encourage them to soar within them, not needing to compete at the same level.

What Paul is saying is to make the other person the priority, to consider their needs before our own. True servant leaders gain satisfaction from serving. We need to keep our eyes and ears open to see how we can bless others, starting with our families and our closest relationships. We need to see what God sees, asking Him for heavenly eyes.

To make someone else’s interests a priority, I have to stop looking at them and comparing what I have with what they have. It means focusing my attention on what I can do to make them successful, to help them get ahead.

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