“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)
“For even Christ did not please Himself.” (Romans 15:3)
Too legibly are the characters written on the fallen heart and a fallen world — “All seek their own!" Selfishness is the great law of our degenerated nature. When the love of God was dethroned from the soul, SELF vaulted into the vacant seat, and there, in some one of its ever-changing shapes, continues to reign.
Jesus stands out for our imitation, as a grand solitary exception in the midst of a world of selfishness. His entire life was one abnegation of self; a beautiful living embodiment of that love which “seeks not her own.” He who for others turned water into wine, and provided a miraculous supply for the fainting thousands in the wilderness — exerted no such miraculous power for His own necessities.
During His forty days temptation, no table did He spread for Himself, no booth did He rear for His unpillowed bead. Twice do we read of Him shedding tears — on neither occasion were they for Himself. The approach of His cross and passion, instead of absorbing Him in His own approaching sufferings, seemed only to elicit new and more gracious promises to His people. When His enemies came to apprehend Him, His only stipulation was for His disciples' release — “Let these go their way.” In the very act of departure, with all the boundless glories of eternity in sight — they were still all His care.
Ah, how different is the spirit of the world! With how many is day after day only a new oblation to that idol SELF — pampering their own wishes; envying and grieving at the good of a neighbor; unable to brook the praise of a rival; establishing their own reputation on the ruins of another; thus engendering jealousy, discontent, peevishness, and every kindred unholy passion.
“But you have not so learned Christ” Reader! Have you been sitting at the feet of Him who “pleased not Himself?” Are you “dying daily” — dying to self as well as to sin? Are you animated with this as the high end and aim of existence — to lay out your time, and talents, and opportunities — for God's glory and the good of your fellow-men; not seeking your own interests — but rather relinquishing these, if, by doing so, another will be made holier, and your Savior honored?
You may not have it in your power to manifest this “mind of Jesus” on a great scale, by enduring great sacrifices; nor is this required. His denial of self had about it no repulsive austerity; but you can evince its holy influence and sway, by innumerable little offices of kindness and goodwill; taking a generous interest in the welfare of others, or engaging in schemes for the mitigation of human misery.
Avoid ostentation — which is only another repulsive form of self. Be eager to be in the shadows; sound no trumpet before you. The evangelist Matthew held a great banquet for Jesus at his house; but in his Gospel, he says not one word about it!
Seek to live more constantly and habitually under the constraining influence of the love of Jesus. Selfishness withers and dies beneath Calvary!
Ah, believer! If Christ had “pleased Himself", where would you have been this day?
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