Friday, October 13, 2006

The Depths of Pride

An argument broke out between Jesus’ disciples because of a request made by the mother of James and John. She asks that her sons be able to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus as He is ruling over His kingdom. This is a bold move as it is one of asking for her sons to be granted places of authority in the kingdom of God.

The other disciples were not pleased with her or with James and John. Yet, because of what is in me, I suspect their displeasure was not out of humility, but because this move conflicted with their own proud desires to sit in those places of honor beside Christ. Jesus’ response to them is staggering. Ultimately, He turns this discussion into a lesson on how His followers will become great as they serve others. Jesus Himself says in Matthew 20:28 that He has come not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. The very One that deserved to be served says His priority is to serve.

There are two lessons that followers of Jesus should learn here. First, the obvious lesson is that we are to be looking for ways to serve others. We should be striving to sacrifice and look for ways to place others and their needs before our own needs. That is a very introspective question. Examine your heart, do you think most often about yourself or do you think most of serving others…not for what you will gain from it…but out of a love for Christ and a desire to serve others around you.

The second perspective is a little different. Are you willing to allow others to serve you? Why would I ask this question? It’s because I believe our pride often keeps us from letting other people serve us. When someone else meets a need for us it shows that we are needy. I don’t like for people to think I am needy or have weaknesses. It takes humility and dependence to allow people to serve me. My pride calls me to do things my way and to take care of my own problems. It’s interesting that both wanting other people to serve me and letting people serve me reveals areas of pride in my life.

When we are humble and faithful to God, I believe He will direct our minds to places of serving others. At the same time, when we are humble and faithful to God, I believe He will teach us how to depend on Him as we learn to depend on others and let others serve us. No matter where you are today, are you learning to depend on this wonderful Savior that came to serve? Ask Him to show you areas of pride in your life and then help you put it to death.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Holy and Blameless Life

What is it that should make the Christian life distinct? Is it the fact that Christians claim to be the only people that will call Heaven home for eternity? Is it the fact that our Savior, Jesus Christ, claims to be the only way to have peace with God? The answer is yes, but there is more. A real distinction for the Christian life is that we have been called to be holy and blameless before God, the church and the world around us. God has called us to do more than just become Christians and wait for our entry to Heaven.

Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him." There is a purpose in our salvation. Before the foundation of the world, God desired to have a people that would be holy and blameless as they live their lives before Him. What a remarkable thought! Christians are fulfilling the desire of God as they grow in their love and obedience to Him.

Think for a moment about something that you really wanted. Think about that toy that you wanted all year as a child , and then think about how sweet the moment was when you unwrapped it on Christmas morning. Think about how long you wanted to marry that special someone, and then how wonderful it was to see her coming down the aisle or him waiting in the front of the chapel. Think about how wonderful it is to see a friend that you have been separated from for far too long. There is a joy that is stored up in us that just waits for these moments to be unleashed.

Christians have the wonderful opportunity of bringing that joy to the heart of God. He has given His Son to bring this about and He has given us His Spirit to live this way. That is what Paul means when he says that God has given us "every spiritual blessing". God has given us the ability to do what He desires for us to do. Yes, it requires hard work on our part to turn away from sin and to live for the glory of God, but we can find amazing encouragement and help from God who desires to see us succeed in living holy and blamelessly for His glory and our joy!

Turn from sin today to delight our great Gift-giver!