by Rick Warren — June 18, 2022
From The Habits of Happiness
“Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
Philippians 2:4 (The Message)
If you truly want to be happy in life, you’ve got to care about the needs of those around you—and move the focus away from yourself. That’s the starting point for all happiness.
Paul looks to Timothy as an example of someone who genuinely cares about others. Philippians 2:20-21 says, “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” (TLB).
Most people don’t get up in the morning and give their first thought to how someone else is doing. They’re often only concerned about their own problems. And that’s why so many people are unhappy with their lives! Thinking only about yourself eventually leads to misery.
If you want to be one of those rare, unselfish, happy people, you need to change your focus.
Putting your focus on others doesn’t come naturally. Most people don’t walk into a room and think, “Who in here needs my help today?” Instead, you think, “How do I look? Am I put together just right? What are people going to think of me?” So you have to intentionally train yourself to do the opposite of what you normally do—to shift the focus away from yourself.
I have to admit that it saddens me how many times I’ve missed the needs of people around me—even the needs of people I love—because I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t taking an interest in them. I hadn’t shifted my focus off myself. And because I wasn’t looking out for their needs, I missed the chance to help.
Philippians 2:4 says, “Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (The Message).
Instead of dwelling on yourself or grieving missed opportunities, spend your energy thinking about how others are doing. That’s where you’ll find happiness—in serving God through serving others.