We often look at our outward actions to see how we are doing in the category of being “other’s-centered”. We took a meal to someone – or we spent the day running after kids – or we helped a family move. While those are all good things, God has reminded me that I often “see as a man sees, for a man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks upon the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). God showed me that His call for me to approach my relationships with a love that puts others’ needs above my own. A love that does “nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Phil 2:3). God showed me that I needed to take a look at my heart – and what better way to see what’s in my heart? Look at what is coming out of my mouth. Because what comes out of our mouths is a reflection of what is in our hearts.
These are some questions that I look at in that conversation with the Lord. Maybe they will help you too, as you ask Him to give you a heart that is truly others’-centered.
How Others-centered Am I… Really?
1. Do I go into conversations with a few questions for the other person that show that I care about them? Or do I just wing it and see what happens?
2. Do I really care about what is going on in someone else’s life?
3. How much of my conversations are taken up with my own ideas, me talking?
4. When I’m in a group situation, do I pray that God would help me to carefully choose the place where I share or do I share whatever and most of what comes to mind?
5. Do people leave their time with me feeling the value that they have in my eyes because of who God has made them to be?
6. When I ask a question, do I really listen to the answer? Do I leave space for them to think and respond? Can the person tell that I am listening by my feedback?
7. How often am I thinking about what I am going to say when someone else is speaking?
8. Do I ask questions with a genuine humility that I might learn something? Or do I ask, with a vague curiosity, but really looking to share my own opinion?
9. Do I leave space in a conversation for someone else to be led by the Spirit to speak? Or do I take up the space with my own thoughts (chatter)?
10. Do my questions show that I believe that God is working in someone’ s life and that I really want to hear about it? Or do my questions stay on the surface because I’ m not sure God is doing anything?
11. Do my questions show that I believe that someone’ s relationship with God is the most important thing about them? Or do I let the time be taken up with small talk?
12. Do my conversations show that I believe that people “ telling of the goodness of the Lord” is the greatest way that they can give Him glory? Do I help others to put words to their observations of His goodness by asking good questions?
13. Do my questions show that I believe that what God is doing in someone else’s life/ministry is equally as valuable as what He is doing in mine? Or do I want to talk about what God is doing in my life more than I want to hear about what He is doing in theirs?