Sin is such a powerful beast. Full of deceit and disillusionment, it easily devours the best of intentions by slowly turning one’s affections from Christ to self. It’s such a natural flow in one’s heart, that it almost seems too late by the time we realize sin dug its hooks into us. I know firsthand what this pain is like. While I rise early and stay up late to serve those around me, I have allowed my heart and mind to only serve itself.
Looking back, I can see that the grumbling in my heart started with thoughts like, “Why am I the only one to notice this?” and “Why isn’t anyone else helping me?” Those thoughts planted seeds of pride and selfishness in my heart. I would catch myself thinking those thoughts, but instead of stopping and confessing my selfishness to the Lord, I allowed my mind to justify my feelings. In a matter of months, I have found myself to be consumed with negative thoughts of others and prideful thoughts of myself. Instead of serving those around me with a joyful heart, I find myself complaining the entire time—and not always in my mind! I allow others to know how “hard” it has been for me, so that they will see how much I sacrifice. I have become the woman I never wanted to be.
In reading through Philippians 2 today, I have been both convicted and encouraged (definitely the last few nights of long talks with my hubby impacted me too). I can see some clear areas of wrong thinking:
1) 2:3 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Again, I have been consumed with my own interests, wants and desires. I want to be the woman who shows love by bearing the burdens with those in the body who carry them, and yet I have found those burdens to be just that for me: a burden. Why? Because I view them as rightful consequences to the mistakes others have made, instead of humbly recognizing that by God’s grace I have not suffered all the possible consequences from my own sin. I have judged myself more worthy and important than those around me.
2) 2:4” let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Honestly this hurts. In my mind, I have been making lots of decisions based on wanting to just enjoy my last pregnancy and soon-to-be newborn. I have counted the struggles others endure as unimportant as I lifted up my own desires.
3) 2:14-16 “Do all things without grumbling or questioning that you may be blameless and innocent … So that in the day of Christ I (Paul) may be proud that I did not labor in vain.”
To those close to me: you know that I have been grumbling and complaining! Please stop me in my tracks and point me to Christ. Do not allow my self-pity and pride to take center stage in our conversations. Please keep me accountable to wholesome talk.
Remind me of Philippians 4:8 “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”
4) 2:8 “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
That’s where my hope lies! As I think about the depths of darkness my actions have exposed, I am broken. I can’t change! I can’t serve with pure motives. I know that even if I could hide my sin from others, God would see it. Then God lovingly reminds me that I am right; I can’t do it! But I don’t have to because He already has done it. Christ lived perfectly. He served others with complete humility. He obeyed the Father even to the point of death. I have put my complete trust in Christ. And, like Paul, I can say, “not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Jesus Christ has made it his own!” (Philippians 3:12)
My salvation doesn’t lie in my ability to serve without grumbling and complaining but in what Christ already did on the cross. And that reminder gives my heart more of a desire to sacrifice and to be thankful for the opportunity to serve Him.