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Making God Smile....

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, 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, NIV

I realize that these words are totally contrary to what you see or hear from your favorite athlete, movie star or Presidential candidate, but nothing, in my option, brings a smile to God’s face like genuine humility. Humility is not thinking about yourself less, it’s simply not thinking about yourself at all!

The topic I discuss with my sons (who are teenagers) about the most is learning to stop talking about how smart, athletic, handsome, talented and “right” they are, and instead talk about the same virtues of their friends. It’s so refreshing (and unusual) to hear most youth talk about the good things about someone else. The present culture is so focused on “in your face” rebukes, dancing in the end zones, trash talking your opponents, and, in general elevating yourself, even if it’s at the expense of your best friends.

Yes, I know that Saint Paul’s counsel is counter to all that you see on TV or your smart phone, but so is Christ’s command to “love your enemies” and “bless those that curse you”. But I guarantee you, your life will be enriched, and you will marvel at how good you begin to feel about yourself when you stop focusing upon how people see you, or worrying about how others esteem you, and instead allow God to smile at you, elevate you and place His sign of approval upon you; take time to look after the needs, hopes and interests of others and trust Him to look after your needs, hopes and interests. You’ve got to be brave! You cannot accept this as true until you step out in trust and test Him: But He will give you more than you can ever scratch together on your own, with all your limitations—but you have trust in His limitless resources to bless you.

Can you let go and let Him be in control? That’s the rub, isn’t it? Most of us—teenagers and parents—are afraid to let God be in total control. We really don’t trust Him, so we push our own agenda, egos and opinions into conversations and relationships. But oh what a relief when we can let go and believe Him! Try it today. Exalt Him, build up others, look after the feelings and needs of your friends and witness the peace and joy that becomes yours at the end of day. And keep your eyes open and alert—He’s smiling on you!

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