Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
Sociologist have dubbed the generation born between the early 1960‘s and 1980‘s as the “Me Generation”, but Satan has been crafting the “Me Generation” since the days of Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3:5, the serpent appealed to Eve by opening her eyes to selfish desires. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Eve “…saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6). Eve thought only of what looked good for her at that moment. She did not consider the overwhelming effect it would have on Adam or the rest of humanity, and certainly did not consider how it would affect her relationship with God. Eve’s eyes were opened, but she was looking through the wrong lens. Satan’s lens focuses our vision on ourselves and our desires, but God’s lens focuses our sight on others and their needs. Through whose lens are you looking? Ask yourself whether what you see is drawing you to self-will and selfish desires or to God’s will and sacrificial desires. Are you studying God’s Word so you can discern the difference? Selfish eyes bring God’s wrath and anger (Romans 2:8) and disorder and every evil practice (James 3:16). Alternatively, when we follow God’s Word and Christ’s example with sacrificial eyes, we won’t need to give in to selfish desires because He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4).
Philippians 2:1-10 teaches us the reason we are to act in humility and not out of selfish ambition is because of our relationship with Christ and His example of humility. Jesus is the chart by which our eyes need to be checked, and that chart is found in the Bible. Though Eve may have been the first member of the “Me Generation” and the first to need to have her selfish eyes examined and corrected, she certainly wasn’t the last. There are others in the Bible with the same vision problem like Samson and King David, however, it wasn’t limited to biblical times. I can think of many occasions when my selfish eyes needed correcting, and daily we see examples of it in the culture around us. Studying God’s Word and Christ’s example has helped me to see my selfishness, and the reality of whose lens I am looking through at those times. Have you asked God to give you humble, sacrificial eyes? “Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (The Message, Philippians 2:3-4).
God’s Word gives light to our eyes (Psalm 19:8) and guides our choices. The eye is an organ that detects and reacts to light. Satan and his temptations masquerade as light (2 Corinthians 11:14), but it’s a false light. After the masquerade party is over and the masks are removed, we see the ugliness for what it truly is, and we are left in darkness and empty glory. It distorts the truth and leads to disillusionment and destruction (2 Peter 3:16). But Jesus wants our eyes opened to turn us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to the power of God (Acts 26:18). We need to put His light on daily because just as forgetting to put on your glasses or contact lenses in the morning distorts your vision for the entire day, so it is when your spiritual eyes aren’t daily enhanced and corrected by the light of God’s Word. His Word turns us from selfish gain (Psalm 119:36), and takes us out of the “Me Generation.” How often are you putting on the corrective lens of God’s Word?
Where does your spiritual vision need correcting?
What are you doing to develop humble, sacrificial eyes?