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.

 

Position, Title, Status, Authority.

What position are you seeking in the Kingdom? What title are you after? What kind of status symbol do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered? Are you a leader now? Important questions for those of us that want to live Kingdom first.

As people we have a desire to create structure, rank, and authority. We then want to climb to the top of the structure, have the highest rank, and carry the most authority. Sometimes we put ourselves on the bottom of the structure just to hold onto the highest rank so we can have the most authority. Meaning sometimes we try to mix the culture of the Kingdom with the culture of the world.

Authority should not be what we are chasing as we walk a Kingdom first life. We should be trying to influence. Let’s define the words. Authority-the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. The place that I want to exercise my authority is over the enemy. I do not want people to look at me as the one that forces their obedience, and orders their life. That is counter Kingdom. Influence-the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone. I do want to walk in this capacity. I want to influence people for Jesus, I want to influence in ways to connect them to their purpose as wells as help them as they walk out their purpose, and advance the Kingdom.

Let’s look at what Jesus said about it.

Luke 14:10-11

10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

It’s not the position at the top, or head that brings you honor in the kingdom, it is your humility in choosing the lowest position.

Luke 20:45-46

46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

They had position, title, status and authority, but look at what they did with it. Instead of influencing people for the Kingdom, they used position, title, status, and authority to devour, and tear down.

Luke 22:24-30

24 Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25 Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.28 “You have stayed with me in my time of trial. 29 And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right 30 to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Who is the greatest? the one who takes the lowest rank. Who is the greatest? The one who becomes like a servant. Jesus is the greatest of all, and He was among us as the one who serves.

Your title, position, or rank may give you authority, but it will not give you influence (forcing compliance is not influence), and as a side note it is simply your identity in Christ that gives you authority over the enemy. Your title, position, rank, or authority does not make you great in the Kingdom. Who is the greatest in the kingdom? The one who becomes the greatest servant.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi