By Deanna Bartalini
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others. ” ~ Philippians 2:4
Have you ever been told or said to someone, “You need to change your attitude?” I have been on both sides of that comment, and honestly, neither hearing it or saying it is easy. Often, it is not even productive. Often, the reply is, “I can’t change; it’s just the way I am.” I know I have said that more than once. I do not say that anymore, though I may think it. Attitude is hard to pinpoint; it can be subtle, just beneath the surface of a person’s words or actions.
Jesus is not Subtle
He never is. And those around him knew it. That is one reason those with authority over the people in his time feared him. He said what he meant, meant what he said, and his actions bore out his words. Today’s readings are not subtle. Ezekial is clear: turn away from sin, or you will be punished. The gospel is clear: we are called to do the Father’s will with our actions. Words do not suffice. St. Paul writes to the Philippians a beautiful reminder of Christ’s humility.
Same as Christ Jesus
St. Paul is encouraging the readers of his letter to be Christ-like. First, he reminds us that Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, did even think about being equal to him. He has great humility. Humility is the virtue we all need and maybe want; as C. S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” I can recall many times in adolescence when my mother told me to be less self-centered and bemoaned my generation was the “me-generation.” She was correct! Sadly, some of that generation still operate in that same manner.
But we are called to something more and different. We are called to have the same attitude as Christ, who not only did not grasp equality with God but accepted the pain and horror of the cross and died for us.
Where is your Death?
We are asked to die to ourselves daily. Do you accept the sacrifices to your schedule when someone is sick and needs your care? How about when the promotion you hoped for goes to someone else? When you are asked to serve in ministry in a way you think is beneath you? Fill something in here that has happened to you recently. Where did you die?
These deaths may cost us something – emotionally, financially, physically, mentally. They can also be a gain for us spiritually. By turning ourselves to Jesus and asking for his attitude of humility, these trials in life, though painful and difficult, can help us grow to be more like him.
I doubt we will give our life as Jesus did. But we are to live our lives with humility, doing the will of the Father, emulating the life of Jesus, and asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We will not come to humility on our own.
Lord, help me to live with your attitude of humility, accepting the deaths You call me to for Your glory.
Call to Action
In prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you need to have more humility. Write these down, pray about each area, and see what concrete steps you can take now.
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