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Selflessness or Self-Centered Selfishness?

Posted on | Braxton Brady

Everyone’s natural tendency is to look out for their own interests. What can we learn from the example of Jesus Christ?

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God
a thing to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.

Therefore God has highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2: 3–11

In this passage of Scripture, we see that Paul realizes everyone’s natural tendency to look out for their own interests. By showing us the ultimate example in the life of Christ, Paul lets us know that we must take that same level of concern and apply it also to the interests of others.

Jesus had every right to stay comfortably where he was, in a position of power. Instead, his love drove him to a position of weakness for the sake of sinners like you and me. This was a radical concept then and continues to be today.

I have two boys at home that have a typical brother relationship. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I remember a specific instance that was one of those times that it didn’t. The boys were playing outside when one of our neighbors called down and invited the boys to play in their yard. Needless to say they were excited to go. They began to run down the sidewalk together when my youngest son fell and scratched his knee. Being the dramatic child of our three, he began to cry and play it up for all it was worth.

I would love to end the story by telling you that my oldest son stopped, helped his brother up, and gave him a great big hug. Instead, my oldest looked down at his hurting brother and then just kept running, leaving his brother crying and searching for help. Obviously, the potential fun in our neighbor’s yard outweighed the desire to help a brother in need.

Have you ever had an experience like that at your house? I am sure you have. The more I thought about that situation, the more I began to ponder how many times I do that in my life.

One of the virtues in our Building Boys, Making Men Character Education program is "The Servant Leader," which promotes the virtue of putting yourself third behind God, and others.
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Am I modeling a life of taking initiative for the benefit of others? I wish I could answer yes. My needs often outweigh the needs of others.

We live in a selfish world that places importance on what we need as individuals. What would our world look like if we as parents decided to parent in a way that went against the trend? We might feel like we were spitting in the wind but I know at some point the wind would change direction.

Our kids need to see us modeling Philippians 2 in the midst of a selfish world. We must constantly redirect our kids back to the love, grace, and mercy of Christ Jesus.

Our lives should be marked by love and service because of what Christ did for us. It excites me to think about what this next generation of sons and daughters would look like if parents decided to take a stand against the culture and parent their children to the glory of God.

I truly believe that marriages, families, and communities would be changed. Parents, be encouraged. Because of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus, we need not worry anymore. We simply use the opportunities He has given us to point our kids to the name that is above all names, Jesus Christ.

May we seek to spread his fame to our families, our city, our nation and our world. To God be the glory!