For wherever there is jealousy or selfish ambition, there will be disorder and every other kind of evil. TLB James 3:16 This explains every relationship you are in. Doesn’t this explain why Middle School and High School relationships can be devastating? You take 1,000 kids with jealousy and selfish ambition to spend the day together. Doesn’t this explain your relationships as an adult? You struggle to have healthy, long term, life giving relationships at work or in the community. Why the struggle? Because in that relationship there is jealousy or selfish ambition.
Let me explain how ‘selfish’ and ‘prideful’ works. People think they are better than you and they never see it. That’s what pride does, it blinds you from seeing your own heart issues. The jealous person enters the relationship comparing you to them. The outcome of comparison is unavoidable. Someone is better and the other is worse. This creates so much drama. Everyone around that selfish, prideful or jealous person doesn’t feel love, they feel used and hurt. The person then wonders why relationships are a struggle? There is drama around that person. There are broken relationships around that person.
Just real fast, does this explain your marriage? Are you selfish or a servant? Do you think you are a servant but you spouse would say, No, you’re selfish! I want to give you a quick marriage test. 2 selfish people living together make that marriage a brutal marriage. Big battles. Cold and bitter. There is a winner and a loser. 1 selfish person mixed with 1 person who is a servant makes that marriage an lopsided marriage. One gives and the other takes. It leads to wounds and over time, even the soft hearted servant grows a hard heart. 2 servants living together makes a great friendship in marriage. It’s fun and it’s getting better. Which marriage are you in? Brutal? Lopsided? Friendship?
I want to talk about how we move from selfish and prideful to servant. Philippians 2:1-8 MSG 1 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – 2 then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Paul writes, that if you have experienced God’s love and grace, it’s obvious that you would want to share that with those around you. To begin the process of moving from being selfish and prideful to being a servant, you must be in a relationship with God and be fully aware of His forgiveness for you.
3a Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Quit trying to be fake to get people to like you. Quit trying to be the ‘look at me’ ‘discover me’ ‘validate me’ kind of person. Quit hurting others around you so that you will feel good about yourself. If you are married, stop controlling it. Quit demanding that everything go your way.
3b Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Think of others more than you think about yourself. Here is a help: life isn’t always about you. Understand what those around you are going through. This doesn’t mean we put ourselves down. It doesn’t mean we lower ourselves or have less value. It simply means, think about others. Now remember, a selfish prideful person struggles to do this.
4 Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. If you find that you always have to win or you always have to be liked or be in control, you have a problem. You are obsessed with yourself. To break that obsession you need to think about others more than you think about yourself. Then Paul gives the ultimate example to the people in Philippi.
5 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. 6 He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. 7 Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Paul says, be humble. That means that you take your ‘rights’ and you lay them down to help others around you. You do that, you move from being selfish and prideful to servant. Are you an upper classman in a sport? You lay down your right to pick on a weak freshman. You have the title at work like boss or owner? You lay down your right to hurt people. Are you someone who has influence with your friends? You use that influence to help them. Are you married? Are you demanding that your spouse meets your needs, it’s your right? ? Lay down your rights long enough to serve them.
How is your marriage: Brutal? Lopsided? Friendship? You might have work to do to move from ‘jealously, selfishness’ to ‘servant.’