by Jon Walker
«We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love other believers.» (1 John 3:14 GW)
Living for yourself is essentially the same thing as sin.
When we live for ourselves, we live as if we’re separated from God – and that’s when we, as believers, become mean and selfish, insensitive and manipulative. It’s exactly this kind of sinful, self-preserving behavior and attitudes that fill our paychecks with death (Romans 6:23).
On the other hand, living for others allows us to access eternal life right here and right now. How? God’s life, his Spirit within us, is eternal life, and through the power of his life within us, we can live for others, listening to his Spirit as he guides us to the best places to meet their needs.
When we believe in Christ and receive him into our hearts, we not only receive eternal life (looking to the future), but we also become «partakers of the divine nature» (looking at the present – 2 Peter 1:4). We are «new creations» (2 Corinthians 5:17), joined for eternity with God’s life, but that God-life also is active in us as the Holy Spirit indwells our being.
By believing the truth – that God is looking out for us – we don’t need to look out for ourselves, and that means we can look out for others (Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:19). God’s deep, intimate, supportive fellowship with us gives birth to a deep, intimate, supportive fellowship with other believers (1 John 1:7).
Listen: Our fellowship with God is worked out best in fellowship with other people.
As new creations in Christ, you need no longer be motivated by fears; you’re now free to look at life through the lens of love – viewing what is best for others. This activates the fruit of the Spirit – love in its many flavors: joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. When you make it your aim to love, the spirit of God releases «the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ» through you – an aroma that moves, Paul says, «from Life to life.» (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
· God’s best – When God and his loving nature become your point of reference, you can start asking: «What’s God’s best for others in this situation?» That inspires a quality of service to others that rises far above what we are likely to give if we only offer them our own «best.»
· The mind of Christ guides your service – In Philippians 4:8, Paul gives us a grid to filter out anything that is not consistent with the mind of Christ. If an image is not true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, or of good report, if a thought is not excellent and praiseworthy, it is to be filtered out by the mind of Christ so as not to find a landing place in us.
· The power of God enables your service – Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God’s «mighty power at work within us … is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.» (NLT) Don’t allow your vision of what is possible in serving others to be limited by what you see as your own strength and resources.
· Serve, not served (Mark 10:45) – Jesus came as a servant, (Philippians 2:5-7) telling his disciples, «I AM among you as one who serves.» (Luke 22:27) Take a look at three or four of your closest relationships and ask, «How can I serve this person?» List specific ways you can serve them as Christ would.
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.