More than ever, advertisers are trying to target their ads to each individual consumer. Have you noticed? Advertisers use all that data they collect about us every time we visit a new website, click on a new link, search for a new product, make a new purchase, or sign up for a new loyalty program. Targeted ads follow us from website to website. Suggestions pop up all the time. “Since you purchased that, you might also like this. Since you listened to that, you might also like this. Since you watched that, you might also like this.”
Everything is increasingly geared towards YOU, the individual–your tastes, your preferences, your leanings, and your likes. That has some advantages. But it also feeds a strong, individualistic, self-focus where we start to think the world should revolve around me.
That’s a mindset that can easily slip into our approach to church if we are not careful, and it’s not a new temptation. In many of Paul’s letters, he’s trying to put out fires of self-focus and reestablish a larger sense of purpose and perspective like we hear in this passage. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:3-5).
Jesus is what it looks like when we put love of God and love of others into action. His example is what always has and always will drive our church. Besides, ultimately our church is not “our church” Our church is Christ’s church, and Christ compels us to live and love for the sake of others.