First Things First

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”—Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)

Following Christ is a radical departure from life as usual here on planet earth. It leads us in the opposite direction of where we were previously heading and where most everyone else is currently heading. It’s as counter-cultural as you can get!

For example, look what we’re taught here in the Book of Philippians. As Christians, we are to esteem others better than ourselves. That’s right! Instead of putting our own agendas first we’re called to care more about others than ourselves.

A mindset like that is considered crazy by most in this day and age. But it’s the lifestyle our Master modeled and He wants us to after follow Him. And as crazy as it may seem, those who pursue this path of putting others first attest that it’s the far better life.

Let’s take this foundational feature of the Christian life and apply it to the institution of marriage. If God calls us to be others-oriented in general, how much more would He want us to esteem our own spouse’s needs ahead of our own? Doesn’t it stand to reason that this way of life should actually begin with those closest to us? And there’s no one closer to us that our mate.

Now, imagine a marriage where this is always happening. A husband is thinking of his wife’s needs before his own, and vice versa. They are consistently putting what’s best for the other before what’s best for themselves.

But there’s another marriage that’s the complete opposite: a husband or wife who always thinks about what they want and what they need. No consideration is given to the one they’re called to be one with!

Which marriage do you want to be a part of? We all know the right answer because we know this sacrificial spirit described in Philippians promotes marital health. There’s going to be more joy, more peace, more love, and more intimacy. These desirable qualities of marriage are the fruit of sacrifice.

All too often, we want the fruit first. But it doesn’t work that way. An attitude of acquiescence needs to be firmly rooted before any fruit can be produced.  Which is why God instructs us to put first things first by putting others first . . . especially our spouse.

DIG: How is the Christian life radically different?

DISCOVER: How ought this difference relate to marriage?

DISPLAY: When was the last tangible time you exemplified Philippians 2:3?

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About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.