I am convinced that most all sin or disobedience in our lives is rooted in selfishness. It is selfishness that elevates our needs, wants, and desires above others and especially above God. It is selfishness, especially in the life of the Christian, that has total disregard as to how our actions affect our brothers and sisters in the Lord. You will find your greatest satisfaction in life when you value others above yourself. This is what the Bible refers to as “preferring others above yourself” (Romans 12:9-10; Philippians 2:3). I want to share with you seven ways you can show “preference” to your brothers and sisters and achieve the greatest satisfaction.
- Be Devoted To Others (Romans 12:10). The KJV uses the phrase: “kindly affectioned” which denotes the tenderness of love between parents and children or husbands and wives. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Being devoted to others means you want what is the best for them! It means loving them as Christ loved you.
- Honor Others Above Yourself (Romans 12:10). This type of honor is an advantage given by believers one to another instead of claiming it for yourself. Again it has this connotation of “deference.” It is an others first, and then me last mentality. Sounds a lot like what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount about going the extra mile! (Matthew 5:40-42).
- Share With Your Brother In Need (Romans 12:13). If God has blessed you with abundance, then it is your obligation to share with others who have a need! Paul admonished Timothy to “charge those who are rich to not trust in uncertain riches…but be ready to distribute and willing to communicate.” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). If you have extra…share it with others.
- Practice Hospitality (Romans 12:13). Hospitality is literally – love to strangers. 1 Peter 4:9 says to offer hospitality without grumbling! In Jesus’ day it was common practice to offer strangers water, shelter, and food because of the harsh desert climate. It is a practice of the Middle East culture. Preferring others means to practice hospitality. Welcome a new neighbor, shake hands and talk with a new visitor on Sunday mornings. Hospitality is not just opening your house to others; it’s opening your heart to others!
- Live In Harmony With Others (Romans 12:16). “Be of the same mind” – The mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). As believers we should strive for unity and oneness in the Body of Christ. We should avoid the things that divide us.
- Accept The Brother Whose Faith Is Weak (Romans 14:1). A dispute is a “judgment of reasoning.” Don’t look down on a brother on “disputable matters.” Put it on your refrigerator — “Some things just aren’t that important!“ Too often, we “strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:24). We want to take the splinter out of our brother’s eye when we have a beam in our own eye. And as a result, we can’t see clearly enough to do it effectively (Matthew 7:3-5).
- Be Humble Toward Others (1 Peter 5:5). We are to wear humility! Much like a servant would distinguish themselves by the white apron they would wear, we are to put on the servile clothing of humility. Wear it such that we show our “subjection one to another.” “We often confuse humility with timidity. Humility is not clothing ourselves in an attitude of self-abasement or self-denigration. Humility is all about maintaining our pride about who we are, what we can accomplish, and what is our worth – but doing it without arrogance – it is the antithesis of hubris, that excessive, arrogant pride which often leads to the derailment of many. It’s about a quiet confidence without the need for a meretricious selling of our wares. It’s about being content to let others discover the layers of our talents without having to boast about them. It’s a lack of arrogance, not a lack of aggressiveness in the pursuit of achievement.” (Mind Tools). “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less!” (C.S. Lewis).
Preferring others is the “greatest satisfaction you will have in life.” That’s how Jesus lived and that’s how we should live. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it! We need to make up our minds not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in our brothers way (Romans 14:13 & 1 Corinthians 8:9). That’s the way of Christ. That’s the way of “spiritual maturity.” Let’s make it our way.