Newspaper Article published January 1, 2020
“Esteeming One Another Better Than One’s Self”
Dr. Gary M. Barker
One of the great and harmful sins that God enables a believer to overcome thru God’s power is SELFISHNESS. When God enables a believer to supernaturally manifest LOVE toward other people, this will motivate a believer to be sacrificial instead of being self-seeking and selfish (1 Corinthians 13:5, Galatians 5:22). By nature, everyone is selfish and puts himself before others. God’s power can transform a person’s sinful nature and behavior and enable a believer to manifest Christlike behaviors of love and sacrifice. This will produce the attitude and action of putting others ahead of self and thinking more of others before self. Esteeming others BETTER THAN ONE’S SELF will result in producing many positive actions that will improve our relations with one another. The apostle Paul in Philippians 2:2-3 mentions several of these positive actions:
1) It will prevent people from manifesting selfish ambition which produces strife.
2) It will prevent people from manifesting pride and vain glory.
3) It will prevent people from making it a priority to promote a person’s selfish interests.
It is obvious that all of these actions that are produced by selfishness will destroy the unity and well-being of any church.
The literal meaning of the word “esteem” is to thoughtfully regard other people with value, honor, and respect. Paul states very clearly that esteeming others is the result of being HUMBLE in one’s thinking: “but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3). Humility will prevent selfishness because it will never cause a person to treat others as inferior people. Love and humility will cause a person to esteem others “BETTER than himself.” This will result in thinking of other people in a superior and excelling way. In Philippians 2:5-10, the apostle Paul states that the example of esteeming others was Christ who became a humble servant and died for the benefit of others. Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross was a manifestation of His love and concern for sinners who needed to be saved. Because Christ esteemed people, He willingly sacrificed His life and “became obedient to the point of death” (Philippians 2:8). Esteeming others more than one’s self will result in doing things that will help people rather than harming them.
I personally believe as a pastor that great blessing will come into a church when selfishness is overcome by esteeming others in Christlike love and humility. May God enable us to follow Christ’s example.