Paul writes, ‘Consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought.’ (Philippians 2:3–5 CEV) That kind of thinking goes against our natural instincts, but Jesus showed us how to do it. Hanging on the cross, He took time to care for the condemned criminal hanging next to Him (see Luke 23:39–43).
As he was being stoned, Stephen prayed for those who were killing him, asking God not to lay the sin to their charge (see Acts 7:60). Beaten and wrongly imprisoned, Paul and Silas took time to minister to their jailer. Even after God sent a powerful earthquake that broke their chains and opened their prison doors, they stayed for the sole purpose of ministering to their captor. How tempting it must have been to escape while the opportunity was there. How easy it would have been to look out for themselves and not worry about anybody else. But their act of love moved the jailer to ask how he might be saved, and as a result, he and his entire family were won to Christ (see Acts 16:25–34).
In a world whose philosophy is ‘look out for number one,’ selfishness is an instinct you will need God’s help to overcome every day. And when you do, people will take notice. You will never win others by being just like them, so here is the question you need to answer: how many of your friends and loved ones may come to know Christ if you demonstrate that you genuinely love them instead of ignoring, judging, and rejecting them? Go ahead—try it! ‘Consider others more important than yourselves.’