Jesus: Our Example to Follow

Matthew 20:28
28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Serving is the measure of the believer’s way of life. Love is the core attribute of serving. Serving for any reason than because of the love of Christ does not negate the obligation to serve, it does however make serving a chore instead of a pleasure.
The reason why many believers don’t serve others is because it is a chore.
So how do we serve with gladness of heart and from the wellspring of Christ’s love?
Can I let you know it does not happen overnight? There is a component of our fallen nature that is very tenacious when it comes to caring for anyone other than ourselves.
But we have an example to follow. His name is Jesus. On the night he was to be arrested he took the basin and the towel and he left us an example to follow. He took the position of a slave, not out of some stringent requirement but because of his love for them and for us.
The way to serve others is not to drum up some kind of false love for others, but rather to remember what Christ did for us. He died for us when we were far from him. He loved us and pursued a relationship with us when we were unlovable. He forgave our sins and gave us eternal life. And there is nothing we can do to repay him for what he did for us.
But we can love others because he asked us to do that. He commanded us to love one another like he loved us. And we don’t love others in some abstract way of thinking. We love others with our actions. Love is a verb… and serving is an action.
Prayer: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Serving and Freedom

Nothing says freedom like serving others. What? Not what you think of when you think freedom?
For most people freedom is defined as the ability to do what you want to do, and not be obligated to do otherwise. I like that definition because it connects with my selfishness and willingness to please myself. But there is a problem with selfishness…
Of all the things that enslave us and there are many, they all have this in common: They exist to make to make us feel better about our self. The physical pleasure we feel, the mental manipulation we use to soothe our ego… all have addictive pull to them.
The Apostle John has 3 categories for our selfishness.
1 John 2:16
16For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world.
So here is where freedom comes in. God, in his infinite wisdom, offers us an opportunity to serve others instead of serving ourselves. And as you begin to do things for others your preoccupation with yourself begins to fade. It is not natural, it is all the grace of God. But the result is freedom. Freedom from selfishness, the addiction of our souls to ourselves.
But somehow in serving others we find satisfaction: It’s as if we were made to do this. To see God work through us to help someone else is one of the most freeing experience we can engage in.
Galatians 5:1
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
When we serve others we are freeing ourselves. Start small… serve the people you like. Your wife, your husband, your kids (you are doing that already). Serve the people you work with, your customers, your friends. Work your way up to strangers and one day you will have forgotten about yourself and you will be free of selfishness.
And when you are meeting the needs of others you are allowing God to meet your needs. And He is really good at it.
Prayer: Thank you for the freedom that comes with serving and the example of your Son, my savior Jesus Christ.

Rescue: Jesus Died in My Place to Make Me Free

This week has been all about the rescue. We are free because God initiated His love towards us by sending his Son. He chose to love us when we were unlovable.
John 3:16-17
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
This is the gospel. That God sent Jesus to become man, who lived a perfect life without sin. He was God in human flesh but he willingly gave his life as payment for our sin. And His death satisfied God’s requirement for justice, allowing God to forgive our sin because of what Jesus had done on our behalf.
And everyone who keeps all the commandments shall not perish? No.
Whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
But the rescue had two benefits. God forgave sin for all who believe in Jesus Christ as their savior giving them eternal life but He also freed believers from the bondage of sin through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Paul sees this as fundamental to our ability to serve God after we have been born again. He didn’t do this by making us better, he did this by putting our old self to death and making us a new creation in Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:6-7
6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Have you embraced the death of your old self? Or are you trying to make your old self better through hard work and self-improvement? Listen to what Paul says in Galatians:
Galatians 2:20
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
This is the rescue. Christ died to make us alive to God and set us free from sin. Having been made alive to God the Galatians were abandoning their freedom in Christ and becoming enslaved to a works based lifestyle. We are in danger of the same thing. We may not be looking to keep the Law of Moses but we often rely on our own power to live a life that honors God. We take pride in our ability to please God. We exchange grace for works and we suffer repeated defeats in our battle with sin.
Prayer: May I rely on your Spirit to guide me in the way I live and remind me to put my old self to death every day as I live through Jesus Christ.

Daily Devotions 2020