Already Philippians 2:3 has already given us two aids in improving the way we interacting with other people, namely, stop fighting or thinking that you are always right, and consider others more important than yourself. Now, verse 4 adds a third statement, making this a triple dose of the same behavioural medicine.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Philippians 2:4 (ESV)
Simply explained it calls each individual to be thoughtful of others. We all go about life well aware of our own desires and intentions. But without also being aware of the other person’s desires and intentions, we always end up insisting on meeting our own desires and persisting with our own intentions. What, therefore, we know intuitively about ourselves, we need to actively look for in others. Learn to perceive the desires and intentions of the person you are with next time. Our interactions with one another are not for the sake of our interests, but for the sake of one another’s interests. When no one in a relationship does this, there is selfish ambition and conceit; when only one in a relationship does this, then it is already at least fifty percent better; when both in a relationship do this, there is peace and humility.
Together with the two versions of the same concept in the previous verse, we therefore have three practical helps for every interaction with another.
- Don’t do anything with fighting or thinking you are always right
- Treat others as more important than yourself
- Think of what others want more than what you want
This is relevant to all of us at all times, be it children at play, couples in marriage, men and women at work, students at class, friends together, or whatever other human interaction that can possibly exist.