Putting Himself Last

Why Jesus is My Hero #35 of 52

Another new year begins, and yet we’re still the same old us. Yet another Christmas reminds us once again how sinful and selfish we are, as family tensions rise to the surface and arguments break out up and down the land.

January 1st is often a good opportunity to take stock and reflect on the year gone by and think and pray about what lies ahead. But such reflections often take place in the context of a renewed awareness of our own sin and our need for God’s forgiveness. It’s both encouraging and challenging, therefore, to be reminded of Christ’s example to us:

“For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me'” (Romans 15:3)

How many of those Christmas arguments could have been avoided if we’d all taken the same attitude – seeking not to please ourselves and have our own way, but to lay aside our rights and put the needs of others first. If we’d sought first and foremost to please our Father in heaven and act in a way that honoured him, rather than seeking to preserve our own misplaced sense of honour.

Jesus’ desire to please God rather than himself can be seen in all manner of ways right throughout his life – from his willingness to leave the glory of heaven and be born in a mangy stable, to his life of selfless sacrificial love, through to his struggles in the garden of Gethsemane as he contemplated the anguish of the cross. At any moment he could have turned back from the path that lay before him and decided to put his own interests first. Yet he persevered, knowing exactly what it would cost him.

So this New Year, who are you going to seek to please? In whatever decisions you face this year, whose interests will come first? And every time we fail, when we end up aiming to please ourselves rather than to please God, may we come back to the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus on our behalf, and find the forgiveness that we so desperately need.