Lofty Destruction or Lowly Success
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 2:3
“... he who exalts his gate seeks destruction.” Proverbs 17:19b
Last night as I was taking some time to read through a few different bible texts, I came upon the top verse from Philippians first and then a bit later I came upon the verse from Proverbs. My mind quickly did a compare and contrast of these two verses and I was intrigued enough to look at them more closely and see how they could possibly be brought together.
I hope you end joy reading all that I found to satisfy my biblical curiosity and what I in turn learned about how God calls us to act toward one another in a means to protect us from destroying ourselves and the dreams He has set in our hearts.
I want to start with the verse from Proverbs because I found the words in this verse a bit different in the NKJV than that which were in the text I had read last night. My standard translation of Proverbs 17:19b didn't connect as well with Philippians 2:3 as the other translation I had, but I just knew there was something to be found if I was diligent in looking at the original Hebrew of Proverbs 17:19b, and I was right. See what I mean as I dig apart for you the key words from Proverbs 17:19b:
exalts (gâbahh) meaning to be haughty; which can further be defined as someone who is disdainfully proud, snobbish, or scornfully arrogant.
gate (pethach) meaning a place of entry.
seeks (bâqash) meaning to strive after; and with the verb tense of this word as it is used it means a continual striving toward an end result, which here is personal destruction.
destruction(sheber) the essence of this word refers to the poor outcome to a dream. The mind of the person who is pursuing this dream somehow does not see that it will lead to an ill end and therefore he/she does not stop and change tactics – the end result is ruin of the dream and more than likely ruin of the person as well.
Putting all of these words back together with their expanded meanings we then learn that “...a person who is scornfully arrogant towards others thereby creating a huge barrier between herself and others is on the fast track to ruining all of her dreams of future success.”
In looking at how that verse now reads out it is easy to make the connection now from the Proverbs verse to the Philippians verse. It is hard to be haughty when none of your actions are “done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind”. It is hard to build up barriers between yourself and others when you are “esteem[ing them] better than” yourself. In following the principal God has set before us we can find the path to successful realization of our dreams – the dreams He has forged in our hearts. What is even more wonderful is that in realizing these types of dreams we not only satisfy the longings Hehas placed inside of us, but also our lives bring glory and honor to Him by living within His standard and stil finding succes through means which oppose the stardards of the "dog eat dog" world we live in.
Today as you find yourself confronted with a situation that may instinctively cause you to pondering how to build a wall between yourself and another person, take time to stop and pray for that person and that situation. Seek out how God would like you to see your situation from His perspective and take into account the fallen state of both yourself and the person you are facing. When we remove our lofty facade and remember that “we are [all] but dust” it is then we can serve in the mostly lowly of states even the most offensive person God could put before us and still come out on top in the end.