Character Blog

Selflessness – Finding Joy in Putting Others First

By April 16, 2019 No Comments

“Let each of you look out not only for your own interest, but also for the interest of others.” Philippians 2:4

Albert Einstein, the Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist, is recognized for being one of the smartest men in history. It turns out physics wasn’t the only subject he was knowledgeable in. He also knew about the significance of relationships and the importance of selflessness. Einstein is credited with saying “Only a life lived for others is worth living.”

We may have a hard time wrapping our minds around Einstein’s scientific theories; however, our hearts can easily resonate with his knowledge about what’s good for the soul…putting the interests of others above ourselves.

This is what selflessness is all about.  It is about removal and refusal.  Removal of self at the center and refusal to act solely for our own advantage.  For many of us, the first form of true selflessness come with marriage or after becoming parents.  A paradigm shift occurs and life no longer focuses on our own wants and needs but instead focuses on those of our spouse or child.


Even though we would all agree with Einstein that “only a life lived for others is worth living,” humbling ourselves just enough to put others’ interests before ours can be easier said than done.  How can we starve the selfish weeds that try to overtake our hearts?

  • SEEK UNITY – In Philippians 2:3, the Apostle Paul says “complete my joy so that you are in agreement” – the Greek word here means “thinking the same thing” and today we might say something along the lines of “being on the same page.” The selfless person seeks unity by trying to ensure that the starting point as well as the purpose is the same or in agreement
  • LOSE the SELFISH AMBITION – The beginning of verse 3 warns us to “do nothing according to selfish ambition or according to empty conceit.” This is a hard one! Paul doesn’t okay a few selfish actions, he draws the line at none. Most of the time, we are motivated to act based on what we get in return and Paul says to lose this mindset!
  • FIND HUMILITY – Before instructing us to look out for the interest of others before our own, Paul writes “but in humility considering one another better than yourselves.” Humility allows us to die to self. Humility is the spirit in which we follow Christ’s example of selflessness. Humility takes us from “I don’t want to put others first” to “I delight in putting others first.”

What is one small step towards selflessness that you can take today?

“When no one is selfless in a relationship, there is war. When one is selfless, there is peace. When both are selfless, there is joy.” Royce White

Tracy LaBreche