Do you live life with a checklist mentality? Do you get distracted from loving others with Christ like love?
It’s easy to go through life just checking things off your to do list. Life gets busy. We have jobs, friends, family, school, church, and everything else that makes up our everyday lives. That’s not bad stuff. Lots of times busyness is caused by some pretty awesome blessings. The problem comes when we get distracted by the busyness and get caught up in our own selfish agenda. It’s then we can miss what really matters. And what really matters, is loving others like Christ loved us.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:1-8
Christ is the perfect example of a servant. He was in the form of God but He humbled Himself and became flesh to reconcile us to Him. He died the most shameful death possible so that we might have life. Because Christ died for us and we live by His spirit, we are called to live our lives like Christ. As Christians, we are to be by definition “followers of Christ.”
One of the most challenging parts about this scripture and the key to truly loving others is loving them more than yourself and considering them more highly than yourself. That doesn’t mean we should go around with an “I’m not good enough” mentality or that you should have a bad self image. What we should do is view others with so much love that we see them as cherished and beloved children of God just as Christ viewed us even when we were still sinners.
Growing up I always watched Tom and Jerry. The basic episode would always have Tom, the cat, chasing Jerry, the mouse. These two would try and kill each other! In some episodes they would have a big ol’ dog named Spike. Spike would always protect Jerry and beat up on Tom because dogs hate cats and cats hate mice. Sometimes, Tom, the cat, would catch Spike off guard. In some episodes, Tom would tie a stick onto Spike. The stick would have a string with a steak attached to the end of it. Then Tom would wake Spike up and Spike would start chasing that delicious wonderful steak around in circles while Tom continued his pursuit of Jerry. So what does this mean for us? When we get caught up in our to do list and our selfish agenda, we get distracted just like Spike. We only focus on the great things in our lives, like the steak, and the call to love others gets blurred in the background. We lose our focus on why we’re doing what we’re doing. We forget where that blessing and great thing is from in the first place.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
When we have great blessings in our lives we can be good stewards of those blessings by working our hardest to bring all glory to God and by pointing others in the same direction. We can do that by showing them Christ-like love. The distractions in our life, the busyness, tiredness, selfishness, even the string and the steak tied to our backs, will keep us from showing genuine christian love to one another. Until we can clip that string and focus on loving like Christ loved us, all earthly accomplishments, gifts, talents, and ideas of success are meaningless. The moment we clip the strings of distraction in our lives is the moment we realize we are called to live lives full of love as humble servants just like Christ.