At the time Paul wrote his letter to the church in Philippi, he was languishing in a Roman prison, yet in his introduction, he describes true happiness not as him being released, but as the Christians there having loving, harmonious relations with one another. Then he goes on to describe how they can do that:
“Make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”1
Paul isn’t saying that we should never consider our own needs. Even Jesus sometimes said no to the needs of the crowds so that He could spend time alone with His Father2 or training His twelve closest disciples.3 But Paul means that we need to think about others and their needs and interests rather than just focus on ourselves.
We can draw strength to do that from our relationship with Jesus Himself. Whatever we do, we do for Him.4 If He is the cornerstone of our actions, if we make Him the center of our attention, then we will be able to build good relationships with God, our family, our coworkers, and others.
It turns out the key to success in life and fruitful relationships is putting Jesus first and being the person that He wants you to be.
I hope the articles in this issue of Activated will inspire you and help you to progress along that path.