Forget Yourself, and Look to the Needs of Others
The starting point for all happiness is shifting the focus away from yourself. If all you think about is yourself, you’re going to be a pretty miserable person. If you truly want to be happy in life, you have to care about the needs of those around you.
Paul gives Timothy as an example of this in Philippians 2:20-21: “There is no one like Timothy for having a real interest in you; everyone else seems to be worrying about his own plans and not those of Jesus Christ” (LB).
Most people are worrying about their own plans and aren’t looking out for the interests of others. Most people don’t get up in the morning and give their first thought to how someone else is doing. Most people are concerned with their own problems. And, that’s why most people are unhappy with their lives!
If you want to be one of those rare, unselfish people, you’ve got to change your focus. You have to shift your focus away from yourself to other people. That’s not something that comes naturally, so it’s something you have to learn to do.
I have to admit that it saddens me how many times I have missed the needs of people around me that I love because I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t taking an interest them. I hadn’t shifted the focus from me to the others in the room. Because I wasn’t looking out for their needs, I missed their needs. And that grieves me a lot.
Instead of grieving missed opportunities, be intentional about looking away from yourself and to the needs of others, where you’ll find happiness in serving God through serving others.
“Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 2:4 MSG).
Talk It Over
- What are the distractions that keep you from focusing on the needs of others?
- What does it mean to “forget yourself”?
- What needs have you neglected to address in someone’s life because you were too busy or focused on your own problems? What can you do today to shift your focus toward helping that person?