READ: Philippians 2
THINK: In the age of social media, psychologists and sociologists find themselves trying to understand what led our society to the narcissism that so defines it today.
Narcissistic: egotistic: characteristic of those having an inflated idea of their own importance. (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)
Has social media caused people to be obsessed with themselves or is social media a result of a culture of individuals trained to look out for their own best interests and gain recognition for their accomplishments? Either way, the narcissism that defines Generation X (also sometimes referred to as Generation Me) stands in stark contrast to the challenges of Paul in Philippians 2:
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. (verses 3-4)
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition.” Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Reflect on the activities you have participated in, dollars you have spent, thoughts you have pondered, time you have wasted, conversations you have had, statuses you have posted, tweets you have tweeted over the past week. Then consider the motivation behind each one. Is it to inflate others’ views of you or to make much of your Heavenly Father by honoring him and loving others?
Thanks for the punch in the gut, Paul. I stand convicted.
Paul reminds us in verses 5-11 that we have a perfect example of a life of humility in Jesus Christ. Jesus, “who being in very nature God,” made himself nothing because we were his priority. Are people our priority? Do we pour out our lives on behalf of others, recognizing that we are nothing without the gift of Jesus? Or do we put ourselves on a pedestal and refuse to relate to or invest in those who may not have as much or know as much as we do?
What will it look like for you to consider others better than yourself? How do your priorities need to change? How can you spend your money differently? Ask God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to help you each day and in every moment to think of others as more important than yourself. There is tremendous joy and reward in walking as Jesus walked, no matter what challenges you face for living counter-culturally.
Written by: Cari Widdel