Vacation is officially over…..so it’s time for How to live your life kingdom first part 3.

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 2 you can read it here.

The fourth practical thing we can do to live our lives kingdom first is to humbly serve one another. This may be the thing that will stand out the most as counter to American culture. American culture is driven by chasing the dream, climbing the ladder, becoming the boss or the buck stops with me person, building bigger houses, creating personal empires, and achieving culture defined success. Furthermore, it’s done at the expense of other people, and getting creative on how you justify it. Humbly serving others goes in the opposite direction, you set aside becoming the ‘man’. Achieving the ‘highest’ rank in the kingdom if you will is to become the greatest servant. It’s not about how high you can climb the ladder or what kind of title you can get people to call you, it’s about how low you can go in order to serve others, and lift them higher. In addition to that, this is not sitting on your perch calling people higher, this is you getting down in the mud with them, and helping them out of the pit without ever asking them how they got their because the truth is it doesn’t matter. You are not their judge, you should be a servant with a heart for people. When you see those people who are struggling, and we all struggle from time to time, your heart shouldn’t be looking at how they got there, but how you can help them get out. This ties in with loving others, and accepting others. I should look at others with the love of Christ, accept them wherever they are at, and serve them wherever they are at.

Christ gives us the ultimate example in John 13:1-17. Furthermore, He commands us to do the same. Here we see the creator of all things, the king of kings, and the lord of lords come down from His position as the most high and wash some dirty stinky feet, and ultimately die for us. He said that if He washed their feet then they should wash each others feet, and He said I gave you this example and you should do as I have done to you. The truth is that you could never be higher than the one who sent you, and we are all sent by Him. To act like you are better than anyone else, or to even think it is a huge statement of pride. Furthermore, you will never be any higher than the one whose feet you are washing, we are a flawed, we are just flawed in different ways.

The word tells us in Galatians 5 to use our new covenant freedom to serve one another, not ourselves. I think Galatians 6 gives us a good picture of how we can do that, here is an excerpt: 6 “Brethren, even if [a]anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” This is a picture of humbly and gently helping someone who has fallen all the while recognizing that you too are flawed and could be tempted yourself. This is recognizing that sometimes things happen to people who cause them to have more of a load than they can carry on their own. This isn’t ‘calling’ people higher in order to sound spiritual when you really just don’t want to get dirty. This is jumping in and helping because you know that you are no better, and you may need help with your own burdens someday. We often carry way more than we could ever make it to the end of the race with, more than we could ever handle. Why do we do that? I would venture to say it is because we have been judged before, we’ve been told we won’t be blessed until we get it right, that we no longer have God’s favor simply because life happened to us.  I would venture to say we don’t want that kind of help. If He was willing to die for me when I was completely lost, then I would think He is willing to continue blessing me while I’m doing my best to live my life for Him. Human faults and stumbles don’t break eternal God promises. We should humbly submit to one another, and serve one another out of deep respect for Christ, not out of what a person has or has not done.

We should use our gifts to serve others. It is through doing this that we show ourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace. We should remain humble, and always carry a servants heart toward others.

I think Philippians 2 sums this up pretty well. Here is an excerpt: 2 “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 [a]affection and compassion, make my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing [c]from [d]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 [e]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 [f]grasped, but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Look at others as better than you, look out for their interests first, and don’t do things out of selfish ambition. Sounds like the opposite of what we experience everyday. We’ve been conditioned to think it is ok to use others for our own gain, and profit. However, that is not who we are supposed to be. We should serve others in a way that we make sure they get a higher value from us than what we get from them.

For me, I know that I will always be able to improve in this area. With marriage, fatherhood, family, friends, ministry, strangers, and so on it is hard to always keep the right attitude and be the servant of all. However, I know that this is who I, and who we are supposed to be.

Make it a point to humbly serve others today, and everyday.

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

 

 

Prosperity??

In Philippians 2:3 we read that we should not do things out of selfish ambition, and to look out for the interest of others. Even in serving the Lord, it wasn’t until the last few years that I realized that my dreams, and vision for my life were my own selfish ambition. Serving really isn’t meant to build you your own empire, serving is others centered. If you serve in order to obtain a self-centered dream, or vision you are simply self-serving. Serving is looking out for others at the expense of yourself. Serving Jesus even when it costs you something. Serving others even when it costs you something.

Unfortunately one of the things that I see happening all around me is Christians using other people(not just their money) for their own profit. I think it comes out of a twisted version of the prosperity message. It has convinced us that it is ok to use others for profit, and make as much profit as possible at the expense of others. We tell ourselves it’s ok because God wants us to be “blessed” and have the “abundant life”. We look at ROI, profit margins, etc just like the world does. We try to get as much profit as possible rather than the least it takes to keep growing. Let me just say that I believe God does want to prosper us, but I think that simply means He will make sure we have more than enough to do what He has called us to do. That can be relationships, buildings, money, or simply said anything we may need. The more than is not meant to build your empire, it is meant to help others.

This is what I have written down for myself as kind of my motto….whatever I do I will try to make sure the other party gets more value from me than I receive payment from them. I think this fits what it means to serve better than making sure I get more payment from people than the value I give them.

It doesn’t matter if you are a ministry leader, someone who provides a service, someone who provides a product, someone who goes to work everyday, a speaker, a writer, etc…I think the motto will fit the scenario.

 

 

 

It’s not complicated…

As Christians, it seems that we tend to make living a fulfilling christian life a deep, and unobtainable theological mystery. This seems to cause people to act like someone they are not, try to modify their behavior, and measure up to the standard status quo.

I would like to make this argument….It’s not complicated.

I think it can be simplified down to the two commands of Christ…Love God with every aspect of your being, and love others as Christ has loved you.

Out of the first command we love God with all of our being. We follow Jesus, we are transformed by Jesus, empowered by Jesus, view the world through Jesus, interpret scripture through Jesus, etc, and understand as 1 John 3 says that love was the message from the beginning.

Out of the second command we love others as He loves us. I think this produces 6 primary things we should do to live the Christian life….

Love one another, Encourage one another, humbly serve one another, accept one another, greet one another with love/excitement/joy, and Do not be evil towards one another.

There are no less than 59 “one another” statements in the New Testament.

It’s not complicated……Love God, and love people.