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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Start with the Needs of Others

In review of Philippians 2:4 it says, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (NIV).

Today’s verse is from the first part of Philippians 2. It tells me to not look only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

With many different backgrounds, unity has to be safeguarded. Paul encourages me to guard against any selfishness, prejudice, or jealousy that might lead to dissension. Showing genuine interest in others is a positive step forward in maintaining unity among believers.

If I want to connect with people, I start with their needs, not my own. Start with their hurts, not my own. Start with what they want, not what I want. There’s an old Chinese saying that says this: “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

The Bible puts it the same way. I need to be thoughtful of others first and not worry about people understanding me. I need to try to understand them. That’s how I make that first connection.

Scripture tells us, “Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 NIV). That is such a countercultural verse. From the moment of birth, everything in our culture conditions us to think of ourselves first.

There are two basic truths about life. First, the world does not revolve around me. I’m special in God’s eyes. And I was created for a purpose. But the world does not revolve around me.

Here’s the second basic truth of life: God has promised that when I focus on meeting the needs of others, he will meet my needs. If you want my needs to be met, start meeting the needs of others. Why? Because God wants me to learn to be unselfish. He wants me to learn to be loving and generous like he is.

Colossians 3:13 tells us, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV). Part of being considerate of other people’s needs is not expecting them to be perfect, and making allowances for their faults.

Great friends are good forgetters. They forget the bad stuff intentionally. Love forgets mistakes. A good friend is considerate of the other person’s needs.

Bottom Line:
Look beyond your own interests, be concerned with others as well.

What this means to me:
I shouldn't just be thinking about my own affairs, but be interested in others, as well, and in what they are doing.

In summary, I shouldn't look out for only my interests, but to take an interest in others. Paul encourages me to guard my mind against any selfishness, prejudice, or jealousy that might lead to dissension. Showing genuine interest in others is a positive step in maintaining unity. To connect with others, start with their needs. "Seek to understand before seeking to be understood." I need to be thoughtful of others first, without worrying about them understanding me. This is how I make a connection. I'm reminded of two basic truths, first the world doesn't revolve around me and second, God has promised that when I focus on meeting the needs of others, he will meet mine. Part of my being considerate of others needs is not expecting them to be perfect, but making allowances for their faults.

Today’s verse and review speaks to me about how I have been working with and responding to others needs. I can see where I have become cynical and more self serving in responding to their requests. I’m expecting them to understand the impact it has on me. I need to strive toward how I can handle their needs in a more kind manner. I need to look for more creative alternatives. You have promised to take care of me and my needs. Today, I pray Father for the Holy Spirit to remind me of your truths in this realm. I also ask for your wisdom and guidance in how I handle my workload, my team leadership and my interaction with others. I pray this through your Son Jesus name, amen!

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