Society has moved to a level where it tells us our needs matter most. We are unable to consider the needs of others because all we concentrate on is ‘me’. To be popular or chase after fame. To gain the praise of others and be well known. All around us we are bombarded with the seeking of self-obsession. There is a boom in cosmetic surgery, because we are not happy with how we look. Our age has become one of digital oversharing. Where we contemplate the test of greatness and turn our focus to ‘all about me’. Deceiving ourselves that we cannot be criticised. Evading constant doubts that success will make us happy. And failing to develop intimacy with anyone by isolating ourselves behind impenetrable walls.
Does this sound like a familiar conversation you have had with friends, colleagues or family?
An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. Christ already perceiving the thoughts in their hearts, took a little child into His arms and stated this. Whoever welcomes this child in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me [also] welcomes Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you [that is, the one who is genuinely humble—the one with a realistic self-view]—he is the one who is [truly] great. (Luke 9:46-48).
Do you struggle with a self-seeking attitude? Where you overestimate your talents and likeability?
Your motive to serve becomes more about how good you look and not the act of service to others. Lacking consideration or empathy, your gaze moves towards attention-seeking behaviour. Perhaps you feel obliged to pursue self-promotion, because that is what our modern world thinks essential, but deep down that isn’t what you really want. When this happens you will never realise God’s approval and how He regards your actions. Largely it is the ‘behind the scenes’, with a ‘joyful heart’, mostly ‘thankless’ deeds. That though others may never notice or know what you are doing, ultimately your serving will be recognised and rewarded by the only opinon that counts.
3 important lessons we can learn from Jesus taking this child into His arms…
Consider how this example of child-like thinking, can guard us from a thoughtless and self-absorbed attitude. If we note and can capture the innocent and humble faith they use to view the world around them.
Have you noticed how children always ask questions? They are always probing out of curiousity to learn. Absorbing new information like a sponge. Retaining everything. And have a teachable attitude to life. When we have a prudent mind to always acquire knowledge, we wisely turn our ear to knowledge (Proverbs 18:15).
Wondered why children are so trusting? They bare their honesty with openness and vulnerability. Never promise a child something you don’t intend to keep, Because they have an unforgetting memory. They remember, believe you will act on your word and expect your commitment to materialise. When we trust in God like a child this is better than the confidence we put in another person (Psalms 118:8).
3| Being Kind-hearted
When did you last have a conversation with a four year old? There are so many cute and inspiring videos on youtube. From ordinary to extraordinary children. If you haven’t, I would suggest you try it. You will find a heart that is courteous, compassionate, helping and understanding. Above all brave. Something that we all can learn from our Father who cares and is tender hearted towards us as His child (Ephesians 4:32; 1 Peter 3:8).
Do you want to be part of a community and acquire a sense of belonging, where you can feel supported when you struggle? When our heart becomes steadfast and trusts in God with awe-filled respect, we will begin to discard our self-seeking attitude. In addition to the high expectations of ourselves that are not met and the failings in all our relationships.
7 Practical Ways To Assist Self-Improvement…
- Be kind to one another, tender hearted and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32).
- With humility and gentleness, with patience, bear with one another in love ( Ephesians 4:2-3).
- Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 2:3).
- Put on a heart that is compassionate, kind, humble, meek and patient (Colossiand 3:12).
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; (Galatians 5:22-24).
- A kind man benefits himself (Proverbs 11:17).
- Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people (Titus 3:1).
What simple acts can you make today that will go a long way? Do you remember the last time you paid someone a kind comment or compliment?
Social media is filled with people exposing personal information about their lives. Recording mundane events to prove their importance. Are social and cultural pressures influencing us more? The line between oversharing and authenticity has been smudged.
Where we forget to tell someone we appreciate them. Or genuinely acknowledge a friend for who they are. Uncaring to difficulties of close or distant individuals. Smiling at a stranger or making a handmade gift or card seems unthinkable. Are we creating our own disillusioned world because we choose to be self-seeking and oblivious to gratitude?
When we exchange self-seeking for kindness, we become generous with our time and money. Automatically our attitude defaults to friendly and pleasant. We become that approachable and easy to talk to person We show politeness and are respectful and considerate to others. That leads to us not hurting or inconveniencing others, because we are mindful of their feelings. Our modesty turns us to selflessness, leading us to place the needs of others first. The result is people begin to notice us as thoughtful and caring, because they feel the genuine concern we show towards them. If we care deeply we become compassionate for those who have less than us or are ill, by being helpful. People will view us as understanding and supportive as we exemplify affection and encouragement to others. Our expressions then display sympathy through emotional support and pragmatic ways to empathise with how another feels. In seeking humility, we become kinder.
In this six week series on attitudes, how are you progressing in week 5? Can you relate to any of these attitudes? How have you contended with each one in your every day life? I would love to hear from you.