In this era of social media, we all have a platform. Some of us use our platforms to share cute animal videos (I love the mini dachshund ones). Others of us share photos of our families. Still others use social media to promote political and personal agendas. Whether or not you use Facebook, we are responsible for how we view and treat the people we encounter.
I am increasingly aware that how we as women treat one another inside and outside the church is a reflection of the Christ we claim to serve. If we speak sarcastically about another, the world is watching. If we complain and criticize, the world is watching. If we wear our feelings on our sleeves, the world is watching. Worse yet, if we wage all-out war on another, the world is watching.
What if we made an effort to turn this around? What if we became intentional about trying to build one another up in a public way? Instead of complaining, we find ways to work together. Instead of comparing, we celebrate the God-created uniqueness of others. Instead of trying to be the one on top, we lift others up.
Paul gives these instructions to the church in Philippi: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3–4).
Let’s break this apart.
1) Value others above yourselves.
In this context, value indicates the worth we place in others. Paul instructs us to see the value in one another and place that as greater than ourselves. He’s not saying that we aren’t worth anything, because the Bible also encourages us to remember that if we are in Christ, we are bought with an infinite price. He is saying that we are to consistently put the needs of others before our own.
How do we do this in real life? We value others when we don’t push our own agendas, when we allow others to have the spotlight, when we serve one another. We do this whether or not the person has earned this worth, because none of us are worthy on our own. We value others simply because they are made in the image of God and are a part of His creation.
2) Not looking to your own interests.
We live in a culture that values personal achievement over everything. We are encouraged to get ahead, work harder, and strive for more. If we are to obey God’s Word in this area, we are going to have to become counter-cultural and spend more time lifting others up in their giftedness than we do in promoting our own.
Even in our Christian culture, having a platform has become a desired goal. Certainly, we all have influence and we should seek to steward that influence to win others to Christ. However, if having influence becomes our goal, rather than exalting the name of Christ, we have missed the mark.
3) Looking to the interests of others.
When we seek to exalt the name of Christ above our own, we will find we have more room to look to the interests of others. What does that really mean? Again, Paul is telling us to put others before ourselves. If you have a need that I can meet, I should seek to do so. If I need to step back from something so that you can shine, then I should move out of the way. And vice versa. When I have needs that you can meet, I should find you standing ready.
The bottom line is this: If we each put one another first, no one is left out. All of our needs will be met because everyone is actively looking for ways to bless one another.
Women of God, we need to change the current climate that puts “me” first to one that puts “you” first. No, it won’t be easy. Yes, those of us who choose to go against the grain may be stepped on and hurt. No, it won’t happen overnight. But if we each choose to follow God’s commands in this area, we can slowly begin to turn the tide of selfishness and exalt the name of Christ in our churches and communities.