I take the same road from my house to my office everyday. By Nicaraguan standards its an excellent road, but there is one troublesome section. The road ends in a T-intersection, merging with another major highway. It goes from three lanes to two, with one exiting to the south and one to the north. The far left lane thusly ends. While it is clear that the left lane is going to end for several miles, many people use it as an express lane to try to jump in front of other vehicles. This morning, for example, you could have leaped frogged 100 cars by using that lane. I have come to call this the “I’m better than you lane.” The drivers in that lane apparently think their time is considerably more valuable than everyone else’s’, thereby feeling the right to budge in front. It not only bugs me that they cheat the system, but also that their merging actually further slows and complicates traffic. Their “me, and only me” attitude ends up making everything worse for everyone else.
We live in a world that seems to get more “me centric” all the time. People greatly dislike being told what to do, and they seem to really dislike sacrificing much of anything to help others. I wish I could say this was a purely secularly attitude, but we see this same attitude permeating the church. So much of Church life becomes a battle of individual preferences instead of a battle against evil, sin, and brokenness. This is, however, not at all as God intended it to be. Checkout Paul’s advice in Phillipians 2:
Do nothing from selfish ambition 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. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant. Philipians 2:3-7
Paul’s writing was radical then, and its radical now. He is telling us that we need to stop getting in the “I’m better than you lane,” and start serving and loving others. What is most important to understand here is not the what (serving others), but the why. Paul tells us to stop thinking so much about ourselves and to instead focus on others because that is the example of Christ Jesus. Jesus’ didn’t come to earth because he would get something out of it, but because He knew that we needed him. We needed His love, His sacrifice, His mercy, and His gift of salvation. There will always be temptations to get in the “I’m better lane,” skipping the opportunity to serve and bless others. We, however, need to always remember the example of Christ Jesus, who chose the difficult lane of service and sacrifice to forever save us. May we too be willing to put ourselves aside for the benefit of others.