“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
Selfish ambition and vain conceit are such ugly words. We don’t usually use them to describe our own motives. Instead, we say, “Don’t give up on your dreams” (for success and nice things and being respected and winning it all). We say, “You’ve got to make some sacrifices if you want to get ahead” (and get the glory and get the girl/guy and get famous).
In fact, you’ve probably heard motivational speakers break it down like this: “Think about what you want for yourself out of life. Make a goal. And figure out the steps to get what you want. Along the way, don’t let anyone treat you like you’re less valuable.”
James called that “worldly wisdom,” and it works sometimes to make people rich or famous. But Paul says, “Identify what other people want out of life, and help them get it. Along the way, don’t let anyone treat you like you’re better than they are. If your dreams don’t include making others successful, let the dreams die.”
Think: Why does this verse — treat others better than yourself — sound so backwards to us? How often do we really do this?
Pray: Ask God to help you want to treat others better than yourself.
Do: Write a one-line motivational poster that would fit the philosophy of this verse.