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Do you remember Carly Simon’s song, “You’re So Vain?” It was a pop song in 1972. I had just started working a job at the local drive-in movie theater. Just as I was about to get out of my car, this song came on the radio. That was the first time I heard it. I thought the song had an odd topic for a pop song, but I liked it. In today’s key Scripture, we find the topic of “vain conceit versus humility.” The two are mutually exclusive.

There are some formidable commands in the New Testament, and Philippians 2:3-4 is one of them:

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. 

Most of us consider ourselves “safe” from selfish ambition and vain conceit, but it’s the last part of the second sentence that is tough. However, giving preferential treatment of the interests of others OVER our interests. OUCH!


I won’t speak for you, but for me, I sometimes struggle to give preference to the interests of others. If God’s Word said, “Give equal treatment.” I could possibly manage that, but to potentially suffer loss because I’m not looking to my interests, I need the Holy Spirit’s help for that.

We are not just considering money. Remember, we have three things that we can give: time, talent, treasure. Stated differently, we can provide our time, provide our abilities, and provide our fiscal assets. 

Many people are very possessive of their money. However, if we are willing to pay for our vacation, we should be willing to pay for others’ mission trips. That would be putting other’s interests in front of our interests.

An example of giving our time is helping in a Vacation Bible School, participating in our church’s prison visitation program, and joining our church’s cleaning volunteers. And an example of giving our talents might be joining our church’s volunteer odd-job team that does odd jobs for the elderly, widowed, and disabled. In my life, I’ve never found any church that had more helpers than needs.

It may be tough but it’s Still God’s Will

Philippians 2:3-4 seems so unremarkable when we read it. But when we stop and consider what the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write, we are confronted with a life-altering commandment, one which we all should prayerfully apply to our lives. 

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