Florida College announced the biblical theme for the 2018-2019 academic year during Opening Ceremonies on Thursday, Aug. 23. In the essay below, Dr. Jason Longstreth, dean of students, shares why he selected this year’s theme, “Do Nothing from Selfishness.”

In a world that is focused on self, the Christian is called to walk in a different manner. Instead of living like the world and pursuing our own pleasures, we are instructed to imitate Christ by denying ourselves and serving others – we give our lives in service to God and to man.

Perhaps this idea is stated more clearly in Philippians 2:1-11 than it is anywhere else in Scripture: “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This year, I want to challenge you to rid yourself of your own desires and stop seeking your own interests. Instead, let us have the same attitude as Jesus had – considering others more important than us. Only when we have learned to empty ourselves and consider others more important than ourselves will we have learned what it means to live like Jesus.

-Dr. Jason Longstreth, Dean of Students