What Are You Looking Out For?
I believe the Lord consistently uses the book of Philippians to speak to me more than any other. He whispers little reminders to correct me and nudge me back into His will.
For instance, if I’m down or discouraged about something, the thought will come to mind, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4). If I choose to rejoice at God’s goodness and faithfulness, my spirits rise even if the situation doesn’t change.
If I’m worried or afraid, I’m reminded to not be anxious, but to pray and call out to God with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6). Recently, I’ve become aware of the importance that the prayers be “with thanksgiving.” Adding thankfulness to the prayer time seems to be the secret to helping my heart rest in God and rather than being afraid. Giving thanks helps raise awareness of the Lord’s strength and power to handle any situation. He is always bigger than the problem.
When difficulties arise in relationships, questions of “What can I do?” are answered by Philippians 2:1-2. I’m to be like-minded, show love, and be of one accord if there is any fellowship, consolation, love, affection, or mercy. If those things are completely lacking, then I need to work on me. I need to get right with God so I can get along with the other person.
I’m too often reminded to look out for the interests of others and esteem them as more important than me, humbling myself as Jesus did when He died on the cross for me (Phil. 2:3-8). The Old Man in me keeps looking out for me.
There are other verses that the Lord regularly uses in my life, but in a recent study of Philippians, another verse stood out to me because I don’t remember ever seeing it before. Paul wrote the church in Philippi while he was in jail in Rome.
He told them he’d like to send Timothy to them, then he added, “I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 2:20-21).
What an indictment on the church of God, the body of Christ! “For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Only Timothy would be looking out primarily for their interests.
That is really sad. But is it not true today? Do we have genuine concern for the welfare of others? Do we look out for our own interests, or those of Jesus Christ?
When we’re genuinely concerned, we invest ourselves.
When we look out for our own interests, we neglect the interests of Jesus Christ, not just the needs of our brothers, sisters, and neighbors.
The greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Lu. 10:27). If we love the Lord with our whole being, we delight in working with and for Him.
When we love Him and love our neighbor as ourselves, we have genuine concern for them and thus have no problem being united with other believers or in esteeming others as better than ourselves.
I’m left with the question, “Which are you looking out for, your own interests, or those of Jesus Christ?”
They say if you have two dogs and you feed one and not the other, which one will thrive? Of course, it’s the one you feed, the one you look out for.
The same is true in our lives. Our sinful nature dictates that we look out for ourselves. It comes naturally. It’s work to love, to have genuine concern, and to esteem others highly. We have to choose that path. And it’s not something we think about daily.
Consequently, it’s good to stop and ask, “What am I looking out for? My own interests, or those of Jesus Christ?”