I use the PrayerMate app to organise my praying and it reminds me regularly to pray Philippians 2:3 for myself:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourself.
They are striking instructions and worthy of us spending time reflecting on.
Do nothing – this is catch all, there is no room for selfish ambition in the motives behind any of our actions, even when it clearly motivates the actions of others. Scanning my activities and considering my plans even good plans are ruined when they’re driven by a desire to make me look good for the sake of looking good and feeling better than others.
…from selfish ambition – this is the poison; the desire for self promotion for security founded on my own superiority. Selfish ambition uses phrases like “I deserve better” or “I’ll show them”, it introduces itself to others with a list of its achievements, it wants to have the last word, the best anecdote. It’s the breeding ground of insecurity and is constantly comparing ourselves to others.
…or conceit – this is selfish ambition’s twin brother. It’s the self delusion that thinks itself better than others. It ponders how others can be so stupid and assumes its own rightness. Conceit is invisible to its owner but glaringly obvious to everyone else. If you want to know if you have it, ask a friend.
…but in humility count others more significant than yourself – this is selfish ambition’s antidote. To think of yourself less and others more. To be driven more by the needs of others than yourself considering their status as more important than your own. This humility is more concerned with how it serves others than how it is being served, is more driven to be a friend than to have friends. It’s willing to be in the background not threatened by others being in charge.
Now all that is very difficult to live out, hence the prayer: “Please Lord help me to do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit but help me instead to humbly consider others more significant than me”