The opening phrase of this verse gives me much to think about when I decide what to put on my to-do list, and why I am doing it.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3)If I am living my life before God, then it matters what I do, even when no one else is involved, even when no one else knows. Like the old saying — good manners are what you do when no one is looking — and godly living isn’t about impressing people. God knows and cares how I discipline myself every moment of the day.
That said, selfish ambition and conceit could easily govern my choices. I could spend the day zealously involved in whatever gives me pleasure (like an art project or even loafing) instead of taking care of my responsibilities as a homemaker or wife. Why bother cooking supper if we can afford take-out? Why bother with cleaning sinks or folding laundry? Does anyone really care?
I’ve known people who put their hobbies above their home and family. They did well in their hobby but lost out in those other areas. The Word of God says too much about home and family to sanction this neglect, even though for me, being a homemaker can be tedious and boring.
I’m glad that self-discipline is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5). I know that without the help of the Lord, I would never wash windows or do the dusting. He is that still small voice that tells me to turn off the television and get to work. He is that inner urging that motivates me to call a grandson or write a cousin when my other choices are more about doing my own thing. He keeps me moving when I want to sit, and slows me down when I get overly zealous over some trivia or other.
To live is Christ means thinking about the long-term value, even the eternal value, of the choices that I make. Jesus had only three and a half years of ministry, but He changed the world because He choose to say, “Not my will but Thine be done.”
Again, I have a long way to do to be like Him.