In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5 (NIV)
When Felicity Andrews completed high school, she enrolled in a one year programme in leadership development and outdoor pursuits. It was a challenging course that was structured for maximum participation. This meant that in addition to the demands of rock climbing, canoeing, skydiving, hiking, scuba diving, long distance swimming, para-gliding, camping, and ocean sailing, the students also had to buy their provisions, do their catering, and attend to the cleaning.
Felicity enjoyed most of these activities, but wasn’t keen on cooking. She managed to side step this duty for nine months. But the day finally came when the group insisted that she prepare the evening meal. In desperation she phoned her mother, who lived four hundred kilometres away, and pleaded with her to do the cooking. Mum succumbed to the pressure and prepared a delicious lasagna, then froze it and sent it to Felicity with an overland courier service. All Felicity had to do was defrost the lasagna and reheat it in the oven, so when the lasagna was delivered she left it on a garden chair in the sun. However, Specks, one of the local dogs, discovered the meal and wasted no time in tucking in. Fortunately he was spotted and most of the meal was rescued.
Months later Felicity was presented with the “Courier a Meal Award” on the night of her graduation!
Most of us are probably like Felicity. There are some things we just don’t want to do and, on occasions, we’ll do everything in our power to avoid doing the things we dislike. Now that may or may not be a problem when it comes to practical matters. After all, it’s no big deal if my wife doesn’t want to stand on the edge of a precipice and I hope no one is ticked off if I refuse to eat haggis or chicken liver pate.
But it is a problem if it’s a spiritual matter. If you’re avoiding someone because you’ve been offended. If you’re harbouring bitterness and anger because of the way you were treated as a child. If you’re holding back from involvement because of the fear of failure. If you’re afraid of people getting close because of previous emotional or physical abuse. If you’re skirting a demanding or difficult situation for the wrong reasons. If it’s a pride issue, a matter of jealousy, of selfish ambition, envy, and the like.
Suffice to say, you must live in such a way as to bring glory to God. As it says in Philippians 2:3-5, you must “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”