In today’s passage, we’re encouraged to not do anything out of rivalry or vanity – in other words competition or pride.
Competition doesn’t contribute to humility, because it’s about “I can do it better than you”. Unfortunately, life has been reduced to a competition: who drives the best car, who speaks more languages, who has the best degree, and who qualifies best for this and that. The focus here is never excellence, but how I’m faring compared to others.
In such an environment, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to walk in humility. This isn’t to encourage mediocrity. We have to continue to do our best and improve ourselves as much as we can. However, our motivation should never be to be better than others, but to be the best we can be. In other words, to be the best God created us to be.
In the same scripture, we’re also encouraged to regard others as better than ourselves. This isn’t about pretending that they’re better while we know they aren’t. It’s about finding out areas where they’re stronger than you are. It may seem hard, but when you take time and consider it, you may be surprised at the qualities the other person has that you don’t. Are you tall? Then the other is better at tasks that require short people. Are you intelligent and knowledgeable? Then the other is better at living his or her life with limited knowledge. When you try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, do you think you can survive and do a better job than him or her with the same conditions? So, humility is about finding out the strengths of others and upholding them, instead of putting them down.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I’ve walked in pride and competition. I pray that You’d help me to regard others as better than myself. Open my eyes to see their strengths more and more, instead of their weaknesses. Amen.
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