Closing the Gap 10.31.18

By October 31, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 43 Day 3

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Phil. 2:3-8 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!

 

John 13:14-17 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Reflect:

If I put the interests of others ahead of my own who will look out for my interests?  Won’t I come up short? How will this principle work if I practice it, but others around me do not?  First of all, it “works” because it is the right way to live. Many people, probably most people in human history, have put their own interests first and the outcomes of their lives have not been good.  It has simply not worked. Those who have lived others-centered lives have been the ones whose lives have “worked” well in terms of the various measurements of human well-being, such as satisfaction, contentment, healthy relationships, and purpose.  But the principle is not intended to be, “I scratch your back and you scratch mine.” It is a sort of “risk” of faith. I may very well put the interests of others first and they may be self-serving. They may put their own interests ahead of mine and I may be cheated or taken for granted.  The guarantee here is that you will be living life in a God-pleasing way. There is no promise that others will reciprocate. However, all that being said, it is very likely that if you live this “put others first” lifestyle in a joyful, consistent, and faith-filled way, then the people around you will eventually join you in that lifestyle.  Individuals who lead with lifestyles that are healthy and relational often reset their cultures. This includes family, work, church, and even larger societal cultures. First, we must learn to lead ourselves and then we will have the capacity to lead others in this. Self-leadership in this area is continually making choices to serve and bless others and not to give in to self-pity, selfish desires, and self-exaltation.  We lead ourselves by taking our thoughts, words, attitudes and actions captive to the truth of Christ. He is our Lord and he has given us the ability to exercise leadership over ourselves. This “self-control” is both a fruit of the Spirit and also a result of choice and training over time. As we lead ourselves to follow God by putting others first, others will be drawn to the fruit of this lifestyle as well as to the source of this fruit, which is the Holy Spirit at work in us.  This is how the world changes. Follow Christ by leading yourself to put others first. Many around you may not follow you in this, but over time it is very likely that many will.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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