"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, June 29, 2012

SELFISH OR SELFLESS ?? - PART 1

Matthew 20:28 (NIV 1984)  "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."


Sometimes the day-to-day grind wears me thin: cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills, mail (junk mail is just the worst!), grocery shopping, doctor visits, emails, birthdays and my personal favorite, family feud mediator.  We do the same things over and over again, only to get up the next day to do them . . . again!  

Irritation increases as each minute ticks away.  At times like this I resent my role and tend to spew my lack of gratitude.  God challenges me when I get this negative outlook.  The Spirit often convicts me to see how very selfish I can be.  

The Word reminds us in Matthew 20 that Christ came to serve, not to be served.  The verse prior tells us those who want to be first must be a slave and those who want to be great must be a servant.  Greatness = service. 

Serving was Christ's demonstration of love to us.  As a perfect example, Christ expressed how we, should in turn, serve others.  His example of humility should motivate us to give up our life for others, as an act of serving Him.  

Others includes:  
  • our annoying neighbor, 
  • harsh boss, 
  • ungratefuI In-laws, 
  • difficult friends, 
  • needy children and 
  • joy thieves!  
It's hard friends.  I get it.  Serving as Christ did requires supernatural strength because all too often our "me first" mindset likes to be catered to.  And, it's especially difficult to serve difficult people, those we may feel are under serving, or undeserving.  Until we include ourselves in the undeserving category, we will not fully realize the nature of our sin and unworthiness.

Regardless of our job, position or influence . . . we are called to serve.

Selfless living characterizes a true servant.  Selfless people think less of themselves and more of the needs of others (Phil 2:4).  When we serve others we are the hands and feet of Christ.  Selfless serving is not selfish serving.  If we are selfless we will serve with pure motives: to exude Jesus.  If we are selfish we will serve with ulterior motives: to be recognized or rewarded.  
Trust me, I know sometimes it feels like it is easier to serve other people rather than our own families.  At least others may notice and show us gratitude.  But, what an acid test to our Christianity if we struggle to minister to those under our own roof.  I'm guilty.  Again, I'm reminded that Jesus did not serve to be applauded or rewarded.  Neither should I.

Let's face it; we all have "those days."  But we can't let the enemy and our own self-centered desires steal our joy and purpose for ministry, wherever God has us.  We must remember to invest what is entrusted to us to advance the Kingdom; to serve, not to be served.

Too easily we can focus on all we have to do instead of all the ministry God has given us.  A shift in godly perspective teaches us that routine things in life and familiar faces should be viewed as blessings not burdens; as ministry not monotony.  God gives us countless opportunities to serve; our families, co-workers, spouse, children, neighbors etc.  

We have a choice: to serve selfishly or selflessly; to satisfy the temporal or eternal.  When we take our eyes off of the eternal and focus on the temporal, our lives can appear daunting and repetitive.  When we take our eyes off of the temporal and focus on the eternal, our lives will look more like the example of Christ; a selfless servant.  


Heart Work:
Where does God have you each day?  Write down the opportunities that present themselves for serving?  Do you shrink back or embrace the chance to serve?

Heart Exam:
How are you tempted to serve selfishly?  Do you secretly wish to be served?  Do you desire your service to be noticed?

How does Christ's example offer you hope and encouragement?

What about your perspective needs to change regarding the daily demands of your life?  How can you better serve those under your own roof?

Heart Changing Word:
John 12:26  "Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me."

Galatians 5:13  "You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love."

Ephesians 6:7  "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men."

Colossians 3:23-24b  "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, . . . It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

1 Peter 4:10  "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."


Copyright 2012 by Hester Christensen.  All rights reserved.