Personal achievement

Personal achievement

In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. – Philippians 2:3–4

James 4:1-10

 1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?

 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.

 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong– you want only what will give you pleasure.

 4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.

In modern organizations, research shows that high achievers are 400% more productive than average employees. High achieving employees routinely blow benchmarks out of the water. Yet they often lack mentorship and have no clear path for advancement. Most organizations do not have formal programs to recognize and develop high achievers to become future leaders. The result? The high achievers get frustrated by the lack of advancement and innovation and leave the organization (Dr. Ruth Gotian, Forbes).

Research by Daniel Pink demonstrates that for high achievers, intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic remuneration, such as bonuses or salary increases, is far more influential and satisfying (Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us).

High achievers crave to see company efforts to stimulate creative innovation, curiosity, and passion. They want to see the bar continually raised to provide value for the organization. They want to know that the organization is investing in their professional development and that there is a path forward within the company.

Our fallen world often rewards high achievers and those who grasp for as much as they can. Early in life, for one reason or another, many of us focus on our personal achievement and advancement. Striving to be excellent is a profitable and worthy goal. However, it should not done at the expense of sidetracking our relationship with the Father and properly valuing other people.

Paul cautions us against being driven by selfishness or empty conceit. “‘Selfish ambition’ stands at the heart of human fallenness, where self-interest and self-aggrandizement at the expense of others primarily dictate values and behavior” (Fee).

The Greek term translated as selfish ambition is eritheia. Eritheiahas the sense of self-seeking pursuit or selfishness. It characterizes someone with a strong drive for personal success without moral restraints.

The Greek word translated conceit is kenodoxia. Kenodoxia is composed of two Greek words kenosvain, empty, and doxaglory. It could be translated as vainglory, self-exultation, or empty pride. The primary idea behind this word is “empty opinion, error.” “Thus it could depict a person who, though conceited, had no reason for it” (Ashy).

Paul exhorts us to raise the bar and do far better. He exhorts us to live with “humility of mind.” Humility is not a fawning self-depreciation. “The ‘submissive mind’ does not mean that the believer is at the beck and call of everybody else or that he is a “religious doormat’ for everybody to use” (Wiersbe)! Rather, humility is possessing an accurate awareness and acceptance of one’s personal weaknesses and strengths. Then we place ourselves at the disposal of the Father. We are to serve “at His pleasure.”

REFLECT & PRAY

Most of us are goal-driven. We have our own agendas and spend our time fulfilling them. If the truth be known, and it is in heaven, self-interest, self-aggrandizement, and empty opinion are the primary drivers that dictate our values and behavior.

Father, sadly I recognize my propensity to advance my own schedule, rather than to discover Yours and seek to carry it out. Help me to rearrange my priorities and focus.

INSIGHT

In a spirit of rivalry, we often face the temptation to advance our own agendas. How can we make this right? The answer is simple, put the interest of others above our own. The key is to take that level of concern and dedication we have for ourselves and apply it to the interests of others. This is radical and very rare. But this is a core value of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:5-8

 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,

 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

“‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 2:5, NIV). After all, outlook determines outcome. If the outlook is selfish, the actions will be divisive and destructive” (Wiersbe).

James 4:1-10

 1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?

 2 You want what you do not have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it.

 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong– you want only what will give you pleasure.

 4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.

 6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”

 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty, is divided between God and the world.

 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

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