Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 22, 2017
By Tripp Prince
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NRSV)
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. Though Black Friday and the consumerism of the season threatens to distract, Thanksgiving at its core is a beautiful celebration of the gifts we have received: family, friends, a stable and just society, the beauty of creation, and of course, food! If we have eyes to see it, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to live in one of the most essential of all Christian truths. It can remind us that the orientation of our entire lives is meant to be turned away from ourselves and outward toward God and others with hearts filled with gratitude and thankfulness.
By default, this is an incredibly hard thing to do! We are by nature concerned with our own wants, desires, and needs. And on top of this, we have spent most of our lives nurturing this disposition towards self. Without intervention, it will almost certainly be the natural outlook of our lives. Thanks be to God that the gift of his grace empowers and enables radical reorientation.
“You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient”(Ephesians 2:1-2).
One way that we can understand “dead in trespasses and sins” is through this lens of self-interest and self-absorption. Once you were entirely consumed with your own interests. Once you cared only about your personal happiness and success. Once you thought that the world revolved around you. Yet God in his mercy looked upon us in this state of inverted love and said, “Come alive in Christ” (Ephesians 2:5)!
This is the invitation that the Lord extends to you today. If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of inverted self-love, caring only about your interests and passions, the Lord looks to you today and says, “Come alive in Christ! Come find your sense of worth and identity in me and my perfect love for you, and let that love set you free to live a life of humility, thanksgiving, and radical love for others.”
Jesus was safe and secure in his identity as the beloved Son of God, and this empowered him to give his life away freely for the life of the world (John 6:51). As we are conformed to his image, we too must learn afresh what it means to seek the flourishing of our neighbors, community, and country. As we do, I believe we will discover more and more what it truly means to be humble, grateful, and thankful.
PrayerFather, by your grace help us to reorient our lives away from self and towards you and your kingdom and the mission you give us to love others just as we have been loved by you. Amen.
ApplicationAre you stuck in the trap of inverted self-love? How can you grow in humility and gratitude as you seek to care for others and look to their needs and interests?
Related ReadingProverbs 21:13; John 13:34-35; Colossians 3:12
Post/Tweet todayThanksgiving at its core is a beautiful celebration of the many gifts we have received from God. #WisdomHunters #radicalchange
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