Heart Check

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 18, 2015
"Do nothing from rivalry 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." Philippians 2:3-4

I've seen these verses three or four times over the last few weeks. Everywhere I turned, they just kept popping up. Sometimes, when you see a couple of verses on a little plaque or quoted on someone's status, you read them slowly and you notice something you've never noticed before. That's exactly what happened to me when I saw it on a printable a the Wednesday before last.

I stopped my scrolling and read it. I let it sink in. "Do NOTHING from rivalry or conceit." NOTHING. Words like that can't be confused for any other word or meaning. When we read words like that, we really must listen.

Rivalry (and conceit) is one of our biggest motivators. If you don't believe me, pay attention next time there is a small child around. Listen to their taunting voice when they're really proud about something, "I can do thiiiiisssss annnnnnddddd yyyyyooouuuuuuu cannnnnnn't." "Myyyyyyyy shooooooooesssssss liiiiiiiiighhhhhht up annnnnnd yyyyyyooooooouurrrrrrsss dooooonnnnnnn't."

We love one-uping and outdoing the people around us. We love getting praise and admiration and applause. When we read verses like these, they serve as great reminders of the wickedness that dwells in our hearts. God put these words in His Bible because the fact is, that on their own, His people LOVE doing EVERYTHING out of rivalry and conceit.

The surrounding verses make it pretty clear: we're to replace our doing out of rivalry and conceit with imitating Christ and acting out of humility with the same mind for the glory of the Father that He had. The encouragement we have in Christ, comfort we have in love, participation we have in the Spirit, and affections and sympathy that are ours in Him are to be the grace that keep our hearts turned toward His example (verse 1).

I'll tell you, I have always been a lover of rules. I don't care how silly the rule is, I'm 99.9% likely to keep it and to try to help others do the same. I'm this way because a) I don't want to get in trouble and b) I want to make people happy. I'm a rule keeper out of conceit. This verse (like so many others) flips my soul upside down and makes yet another aspect of my life centered on God.

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2: 12-13

When I do my rule keeping, I must consciously tell myself that it's about serving those around me and living in a way that will not tarnish the name of God. When my motives are pure (aka not wrapped up in ME), then even my rule keeping turns into a way for me to work out my salvation.

What is something that you do out of rivalry or conceit?

What verses have been following you around lately?


  1. i'm a rule-keeper out of conceit, too! i get super legalistic and would mentally keep track of my friends' youth group attendance or church attendance...like, "if fellowship were important to you, you would have been there!" but (as i know well), that is a crazy way to live. i can't compare and track my "attendance" with someone else's, and while accountability is important, trying to make people follow the rules so that my pharisee heart can feel better about myself DOES. NOT. WORK. haha

  2. Oh wow, this is so true. I really struggle to be humble sometimes. Christopher is one of the most humble people I know and I have learned so much about what humility looks like from him.

  3. Ah, this is such an eye opener. You're right...we learn the art of rivalry really early on in life...mostly by dealing with other children. But it goes on into adulthood. I still struggle with not having the nicest purse or clothes or other things as trivial as that. I am really bad about comparing myself to other people and getting down when I don't have what they have.

    Thanks for sharing!! The verse I've memorized for this week is Romans 5:3 "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they help us develop endurance."


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