“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3 KJV)
Strife or vainglory? As in an empty glory, a selfish ambition, contention, or faction? Now, hold on a minute. Let us think about this a second. Is this really something that we ought not do and if so why not? I know there is a certain fluff in wanting to present a surface level appearance of not being selfish, conceded, and to avoid being in the “inner circle” of a faction. Yet, can there not be a very powerful core of motivation if you propel yourself? Is that not the point of these otherwise ridiculous Christian Life profile type surveys? The kind of surveys that ask you (and perhaps a few close friends) dozens of questions to help you pin point exactly what your gifts and talents are, so that you can in turn learn to specialize and focus in these now revealed strengths? What is the point in doing any kind of self assessment if the results are not to be taken seriously with a personal level of motivation? How is this at some level not a contradiction of James 1:22-27? Is not the point of looking at your reflection to then in turn do something about it?
This dilemma begins to play itself out right about the time that you hear the Lord softly speaking to you about something He wants you to do that is not in the “strengths” quadrant of your matrix. You reply with complete honesty that this is not a good fit for you. It is certainly an honorable thing that needs to be done. It contains a great deal of blessing. It is even needed right there in your community, but there are others who do that kind of work so much better than you do. You feel that if you stepped out into that type of work that you could easily set the clock back centuries rather than move the initiative forward. It is a train wreck waiting to happen and it would be better if God just spared everyone involved the splinters that this is likely to leave you in.
Now things gets to be a little clearer. You begin to see what part of the ambition is the selfish part. You begin to see that the reflection that James was speaking of is a reflection of God's Word rather than how you perceived God's Word. There is suddenly a gap between how you wanted the Word to be applied and how God seems to be applying it. In the words of the Joker, “Foiled again”. A plot that did not even seem like a plot to advance yourself finds itself dragged into a thorough bath of reality and a realization that it must be with the honor of God in your heart first. Shortly followed by a love for your neighbor.
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Philippians 2:4 KJV)