When we take a group photograph, our critical eye naturally turns to ourselves. When surveying the result, we are occupied by one question: “do I look good enough in this picture?”

Our perspective gravitates toward self-focus. If we are blinking or our hair is out of place or we are making a weird face, we want the picture retaken. We want to look our best. Evaluating how others look or the overall quality of the photo is usually an afterthought. 

Our perspective problem is that we default to believing self-focus is in our self-interest. The Bible offers us a conclusive truth about this: it is not. In fact, self-focus is self-destructive. Our true self-interest lies in taking the best interest of others into account. The world is bigger than any one of us.   

Widening our view to include the interest of others helps us develop a true perspective. The passage immediately following this verse tells us that this attitude of service toward others is what Jesus had when he came to earth. His perspective was that doing what His Father asked was in His true self-interest. He gained the rewards and approval from His Father for His faithful service, which made all the service worthwhile. 

Jesus told us that the second greatest command is to love others like we love ourselves. Self-interest is presumed. But by seeking the best for others, we make the world bigger than just ourselves. This leads us to discover our purpose. We need the whole picture in order to truly be ourselves. And that begins with shifting our perspective to realize our true self-interest is best served by seeking the best for others.

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
– Philippians 2:4