Philippians 2:19-21 – “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.” NKJV
In today’s world SELFIES are more prominent than SELF-EFFACEMENT. This is the day of ‘tooting your own horn’ rather than genuinely seeking the ‘best good’ of others. In today’s world it seems that even preachers are caught up in the “ME” mentality and are driven to be recognized, have the biggest and best with acclaim reaching far and wide. DISCLAIMER: I am no longer a lead pastor so I am not speaking sour grapes or jealousy. I truly desire that each minister and church rise as high, reaching as many as possible and become a force for God and good internationally. I want you to succeed in God’s eyes and even in man’s.
Paul lamented that he had no one but Timothy standing with him that was truly ‘self-effacing’. His incredible description of Timothy should be a condition that we all strive to attain. He said that Timothy sincerely cared for the state of the church and did not seek his own but the things of Christ. Please do not become religiously indignant over my statement without hearing the conclusion of the whole matter. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 that we were to SEEK FIRST the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. I suggest that the Bible clearly presents the argument that ‘seeking self’ and ‘seeking the kingdom’ are incompatible. If SELF is in the forefront the KINGDOM will be secondary or worse. We need ‘self-effacement’ not “self-deprecation.”
John the Baptist declared regarding Jesus, “He must increase but I must decrease.” Paul told the Roman believers that a follower of Christ SHOULD NOT think more highly of himself than is proper. The world is watching those who name the name of Christ. They are watching us with skepticism and often looking for a place to discredit us. If they see in us the same character flaws or personal ambitions as the world manifests what will draw them to our message? There are many in the world that promote SELF as supreme and if our actions, attitude and words suggest we are doing the same and that our Christianity is rooted in “What’s in it for me?” we will lose our influence and impact.
Humility is a quality that as soon as you think you have it you have lost it. Self-effacement is the work of Grace in our hearts and the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is not something that we can consciously achieve through will-power it is a work of Grace. It is a condition of heart. It is a genuineness of spirit where God is truly HEAD OF ALL THINGS in our lives and His heart is our heart. It is a condition of death to personal ambition, jealousy, envy, greed and ego. It is Christ in us! It is in Him we live and move and have our being. It is the Life I now live in the flesh I live by the Faith of the Son of God. It is out of our bellies flow rivers of living water. It is an outward demonstration of the inward condition not something that is manufactured or even learned it is LIVED.
Am I self-effacing? Sometimes but other times I manage to demonstrate my carnality and humanity. When I truly find myself placing Him above all and the good of others above my own interest it produces incredible peace and joy. In all honesty, in those times I am almost completely unaware that it is happening because it flows forth. In other times the Holy Spirit checks my heart, my words and planned action and I realize that I am anything but ‘self-effacing’ and humility is not in the same hemisphere spiritually. In those times I fall on my face before God and cry out for mercy. I pray the prayer of David, “Create in me a clean heart and renew in me a right spirit…”
God help us to be LIKE CHRIST in truth not in manufactured attempts to BE. God bless you as you go through this day!