Scriptural exhortations and commands are sometimes difficult to abide by. Like the one about not looking at another woman to lust for her. That one is even more difficult for men.
Not boiling a young goat in its mothers milk has not been difficult for me so far, but it could be if I were trying to simmer a young kid in its mum’s milk on the stove while trying not to let it reach boiling point. So everything is relative to circumstance.
When it comes to difficult scriptures to keep, I think I have found one that beats them all, and you won’t find it in Deuteronomy or Leviticus. Unless not eating a crab is actually an allegorical command condemning our narcissistic pursuit of success in 21st Century life.
This difficult scripture I speak of is not even a command, more like an encouragement from a wise suffering sojourner sharing the same path. It is Paul’s plea in his letter to the Philippians. Let’s look at Philippians chapter two verse three: ‘Let NOTHING be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.’ (emphasis mind). Verse four is also noteworthy: ‘Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.’
Focus on the word ‘nothing’. Let nothing be done in selfish ambition. Now that is difficult! Some of us who are too busy for others will suddenly have ‘nothing’ to do!
Young writers conference
Our recent young writers conference revealed that many of us don’t read one another’s articles. I wish I could say I had read more of what others have to say, but I confess my guilt in the matter. Not surprising news for many writers I’m sure, but disheartening for those who oversee us and put in extra work to propel us forward. Self-centeredness is natural, but Christians are more than just natural, therefore we can expect more from ourselves.
Honestly speaking, most of what we enter into is done with selfish ambition. No one made it into the world by holding the door open for a fellow sperm. Once born we do our best to clamour for someone’s attention, particularly someone who will potentially fulfil our needs and desires.
I got into sports by watching the stars. I wanted to be like them. When I was 12 to 14 years old, winning as a team took a backseat to my ability to stand out and improve myself. If I still played like that today I would not be known for playing well but instead just be known for being a jackass.
Starting a business can be the same. Personal goals and ambition drives us the extra mile, and can drive employees away also. People are worth much more than simply what they can produce for us. There is a better way, difficult as it may be. Change is possible.
All of us enter life self absorbed, to exit life in the same state however, is to die alone, and in vain.
Exit the world absorbed in others, and your life is eternal. Eternal life is a fellowship of emptying one life into another. When it’s a shared covenant, like the Father and the Son, who’s fellowship, coincidentally is ours also, simultaneously emptying means simultaneous filling! Those who honestly view others better than themselves will always find great joy in the interests of others!
Ours is not a ‘personal salvation’ leading to ‘personal prosperity’ hindered by ‘personal attacks’ from other Christians who must be left behind to achieve our ‘personal success’. I may have to pinch myself after that declaration to see if I still qualify as a Pentecostal.
In verse four Paul clarifies his encouragement. The man with such lofty revelations always remained a realist. Understanding we all have our own interests, he urges us nevertheless to become aware of the interests of others. If it’s to difficult to view another better than yourself, we can at least love our neighbour as ourselves. For all our passions and pursuits, this one command is all God really wants from us. Not so difficult after all.
Josh Robbie previous articles may be viewed
Joshua Robbie is currently serving the Lord under Pastors Ronnie and Shirley Naidoo of KZN Celebration Centre in Tongaat South Africa. He and His wife Rene’ moved from Australia to South Africa in April 2016. Their desire is to help in whatever way they can so that the church can become all that God has purposed her to be. Josh is a painter by trade and also enjoys sports such as surfing, basketball and boxing. He has also written a book, now available for purchase on Amazon called: “Your Father sees: Living the sermon on the mount”.Josh Robbie previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/josh-robbie.html