Growing up, I always cared about the feelings of others, as long as those feelings didn’t interfere with me getting what I wanted. I remember an argument I had with my brother about my bicycle. I told him he could use my bike, but he made me mad so I changed my mind. I was clearly loosing the argument so I had to act fast. Like any good sister, I knew how to push my brother’s buttons. I pushed him right across the line and got him to call me names. He was sent to his room and I had a momentary high from my victory, followed immediately by a sense of sadness for my brother. I crept down to his room and whispered through the door, “David, are you okay? I’m sorry.” Over the years, I became well acquainted with my cycle of self-motivation and regret.
When I met God, I had one of those instant “change experiences” — a change from selfishness to selflessness. Now don’t get me wrong–it is a lifetime process, but the motive of my heart changed in a moment. I read scriptures like Galatians 6:2 (ESV): “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” and it made me feel alive and powerful. My pastor at the time would tell me, “People come first. Learn to love being inconvenienced, because people are inconvenient and they come first.” Boy was he right, and I do love it!
God is selfless. You see it in everything He says and in everything He does. I remember the first time I read Philippians 2:1-7 (NAS):
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”
I wanted to be connected, anchored, to the heart of God by being this person. There is no time I feel closer to the heart of God than when I put other people before myself.
CALL TO ACTION
The next time you have the option to put someone else before yourself, do it! Step out in courage regardless of how you feel. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about God’s desire, and His desire is that we put others first. You will find more fulfillment and strength than you can imagine when you anchor yourself to God’s heart through selflessness.