Prefer One Another
Philippians 2:5-8 describes Christ's profound act of preferring us. He voluntarily left the comforts of Heaven and came to Earth to meet our most pressing need, "becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross." Verse 5 directs us to do the same: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." He preferred us, so we should prefer one another. Simple said, we should think of others and put them first.
Preferring others requires that we "die to self"; we'll need to set aside our personal preferences, desires, and plans in order to prioritize the preferences of others. Dying to self is one of the most challenging concepts for Christians. Yielding to other people's wants and needs, however, is the mark of a mature Christian.
Here are some practical ways you can become better at preferring others:
1) Take the initiative to discover other people's needs, desires, and preferences.
2) Learn to prefer others in various ways.
3) Discover other people's gifts and create opportunities in which they can be used.
4) Focus on others instead of on yourself.
5) Preferring others will impact our conversations.
My mother was a simple, godly woman who had a deep-rooted faith in God and his Word. She didn’t understand Greek or Hebrew and would graciously avoid conversations involving higher criticism or theological debate, but she lived the gospel and always focused on the needs of others. One particular incident from her life highlighted her life-long desire to put others first. Her pastor told us this story at her funeral.
Several days before mom died, her pastor visited her in the hospital. Her health had deteriorated such that she only weighed seventy-seven pounds. She was being fed intravenously because her jaw was nearly immobile. When Mom heard the hospital door swing open and recognized her visitor as her pastor, she tried to speak to him. Attempting to understand what she was saying, the pastor bent over her bed, putting his ear just inches away from Mom’s mouth. She was asking, “Have you had dinner yet?”
That was “vintage Mom.” Though wasting away herself, she was concerned that her minister might not have eaten dinner. In her heart, I suppose she was prepared to cook him a feast. To her dying breath, she preferred others.