Getting Our Eyes Off of Ourselves

Paul makes an urgent appeal in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit” (Phil. 2:3 NASB). And yet we’ve said, we are all selfish, so what can we do about it? Can we get our eyes off of self? According to Scripture, we can. The preceding two verses show us how. They say,

“Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind.” (Phil. 2:1-2 NASB) 

Paul’s sarcasm is thinly veiled. Is there any encouragement? Any consolation? Any fellowship? Then smile! What’s the cure for selfishness? Get yourself out of your eye by getting your eye off yourself. Quit staring at yourself and focus on your great Savior. 

Don’t focus on yourself; focus on all that you have in Christ. Focus on the encouragement in Christ, the consolation of Christ, the love of Christ, the fellowship of the Spirit, the affection and compassion of heaven.

If Christ becomes our focus, we won’t be like the physician in Arkansas. He misdiagnosed the patient. He declared the woman to be dead. The family was informed, and the husband was grief-stricken. Imagine the surprise of the nurse when she discovered that the woman was alive! “You better tell the family”, she urged the doctor. The embarrassed physician phoned the husband and said, “I need to talk to you about the condition of your wife.”

“The condition of my wife?” he asked. “She’s dead.”

The doctor’s pride only allowed him to concede, “Well, she has seen a slight improvement.”

Slight improvement? Talk about an understatement! 

He was so concerned about his image that he missed an opportunity to celebrate. We laugh, but don’t we do the same? We’ve gone from cremation to celebration. We deserve a lava bath, but we’ve been given a pool of grace. Yet to look at our faces, you’d think our circumstances had made only a “slight improvement.” “How’s life?” someone asks. And we who’ve been resurrected from the dead say, “Well, things could be better.” Or “Couldn’t get a parking place.” Or “My parents won’t let me move to Hawaii.” 

Honestly. We worry about acid rain in silver linings. Do you think Paul might like to have a word with us? Are you so focused on what you don’t have that you are blind to what you do have? Have you received any encouragement? Any fellowship? Any consolation? Then don’t you have reason for joy? Don’t you have a reason to get your eye off you, and show someone else some love?

Rickie Jenkins