Surrendering Superiority

Begin the new year with God

Allow God to redirect your attention today and continue to transform you in his presence.


As we’re drawing closer to the end of our week on humility, today we’re going to look at the importance of counting others as more significant than ourselves. Pride comes so naturally for all of us, but if we are going to live a life of humility, we must learn to look up at God rather than look down at others. Allow God to redirect your attention today and continue to transform you in his presence.


“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

Philippians 2:3 ESV


Friday the 13th has an interesting story. It doesn’t occur often, only once every 212 days.

The day is special to our family because my father was born on Friday, July 13, 1924. But much of our culture sees the day differently, considering today to be especially unlucky. Some say this idea actually started with the Bible: thirteen guests attended the Last Supper, including Jesus and his twelve apostles. The next day, Good Friday, Jesus was crucified.

The combination of traumatic historical events and popular culture have combined to make today especially fearful for some. This fear even has a name: “paraskevidekatriaphobia.”

About now, if you’re not superstitious, you may be shrugging your intellectual shoulders in pity at those who are. It’s easy to feel superior to those we consider to be wrong or less capable than we are. When someone acts irrationally, sinfully, or otherwise wrongfully, we are quick to judge and just as quick to elevate ourselves in our own minds.

I am just as vulnerable in this regard as anyone. When I meet non-Christians, I must guard against feeling superior to them for experiencing salvation that came to me only by grace, through no merits of my own, as we read in Ephesians 2. When I read or hear of sins or mistakes others make, I must guard against feeling better than they are, even though I have my own sins that they may not be committing.

This temptation reveals a problem: we cannot be looking up at God while looking down at others.

This is why our verse today is so insistent: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit.” So how do we avoid this pride in our own hearts?

Paul explains that we should “in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Notice that Paul doesn’t teach us that others are “more significant” than we are. Instead, we are to “count” them to be so. The original Greek word here means to “consider or regard” and suggests that we are to put their well-being ahead of our own and work for their best even if it comes at personal sacrifice.

When we ask in every circumstance how we can best love God and our neighbor, we will position ourselves to live in humility toward both. We become humble not by seeking humility itself but through loving and serving.

And that humility will position us to experience God’s power and presence in and through our lives in ways that may lead to the spiritual awakening we need so desperately today.

today’s devotional is written by Jim Denison


1. Reflect on the fact that God so loved the world that he gave his Son for you (John 3:16). Consider the generations across history that Jesus died for and express your gratitude for being a part of the family of God.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).

2. Ask the Lord to help you see people the way that he sees them.

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5).

3. Pray for God to give you opportunities to love and serve someone around you today. And ask him to give you a greater awareness of those who need to experience his love.

“Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).


Surrendering Superiority


When we truly love someone, we will love those they love. It’s not possible to fully love me if you hate my family. To put it another way, one of the best ways to love me is to love them.

When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, this love cannot help but overflow to the people he loves all around us. One of the best ways we can demonstrate our love for God today is to love whom he loves.

John Wesley’s life motto was simple but profound: “Do all the good you can by all the means you can in all the places you can at all the times you can as long as ever you can.”

May God give us the grace to live by that example today.

Extended reading: John 13:1–20

May God give us the grace to live by that example today.


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