Putting others before ourselves is not natural nor comfortable. Yet, as Christians, we believe we are given a new nature at salvation. Part of this nature is summed up in Galatians 6:22 and 23. The fruit of the Spirit is all about putting others before oneself.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” ~ Galatians 6:22,23
Let’s look at some tips for putting others before yourself. This will include 5 attitudes you can take and 2 practical ways you can implement the new attitudes.
Consider Your Attitude
One of the many attributes that characterizes Christ is His compassion. Of course He was God, but He was also a man with a desire to serve others because of His love for them. Jesus Christ is our example.
We can ask the Lord to develop compassion in our lives. He said to His followers that those who are truly His disciples will show love to one another. It is probably easier to love fellow Christians than those who do not know our Father, but the example that Christ gave was of Him loving other people regardless of their spiritual condition.
Consider the needs of those around you. Try to put yourself in their situation and treat them as you would like to be treated. We call this the Golden Rule and it is found in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
We often talk about putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. That is a good way to think of empathy. When you are having trouble getting along with, or helping, someone else, try to picture yourself in the same condition or position they are in. How would you like people to treat you? Treat them the same way and you will become more empathetic to the needs of others.
Develop a Servant’s Heart
Find ways to serve others. This is the best way to develop a servant’s heart. Putting others before yourself is easier when you are serving them. But just because someone is in a serving position does not mean that they are serving with the right attitude. Maybe you have met the people who are involved in the service industry who don’t enjoy serving others. Even people in compassionate sounding jobs (working at a homeless shelter or working as a nurse for example) can have the wrong attitude about the people they are serving.
Develop a servant’s heart and attitude. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. You have to yield to Him so that He can work in your life.
Realize That People Think Differently
One of the reasons we find it hard to put others before ourselves is that different people think differently than we do. If my family thought exactly the same way I did then we might have fewer problems, but life would sure be boring. We like the diversity of thought that different people bring to a group. However, it can also be the source of friction. Try to learn see things from their perspective.
Don’t try to force everyone into your way of thinking. That is a sign that you are thinking more of yourself than you are of them.
Consider Their Welfare More Important Than Your Desires
Jesus Christ came to earth for the good of mankind. While we are trying to be compassionate and more empathetic we should see what others need. This does not mean we give them anything they want nor allow others to walk all over us. It means we try to find out their true needs and try to help them. Even if it is uncomfortable for us.
Put Your New Attitude into Action
Besides the above attitudes, here are a couple of things you can begin to do to put others before yourself and put these attitudes into practice.
Find a needy charity or service organization where you can spend time serving others. This could be volunteer time at a local library or soup kitchen. Homeless shelters and churches are always looking for people to volunteer for projects.
Try to find a project that will allow you to work directly with people. This will let you see the effect you have on people’s lives when you put others before yourself.
Take a Mission trip
When you go on a mission trip you are putting other people first. While it may be a personal adventure and quite thrilling to take a mission trip, it is also a way to serve. The people you meet on your trip will see that you have made a sacrifice to put them first. Of course, you should not go on the trip for the sole purpose of making yourself feel better. You should use the opportunity to see how you can put others first when involved in your everyday life.
Philippians 2:3-7, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
These verses tell us we should put others first. Then we are given the wonderful example of how Christ did this for us. How will you put others first today?
Take a look at some other tips that David has shared in this article: 10 Time Management Tips for the Busy Christian
Resources – The Holy Bible, King James Version; YouTube “Draw Me Close to You”