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Giving Myself in Service to Others

(Philippians 2:1-13)

Lesson 10 -- third quarter 2010
August 8, 2010

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2010

Introductory questions to chew

Do I know how to be likeminded with others in my congregation?

Just how much do I want to be likeminded with them?

Have I kept (and do I keep) self set aside and crucified?

How much do I look out for the good and well-being of others?

Am I making any progress at being a servant to others?

When was the last time I humbled myself?

What is the state of my knees before Christ?

Do I want to do the good pleasure of God?

Addicted to service

The nature of the human heart is to seek its own good. The natural man wishes to be served, humored, and pampered. The way of love opposes the natural way: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Sure, in that verse Jesus is most clearly talking about dying for someone. Less obvious (and more uncomfortable) to us is the reality that Jesus more frequently calls us to a living sacrifice that lays down our lives in selfless service to others. In 1 Corinthians 16:15, a certain family was commended for having "addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints."

God's work needs servants to function! When God's people are too busy with themselves, they cannot serve . . . and they leave God's work undone. It's past time to reevaluate our priorities, to cast off the works of darkness, to quit laying up treasures on earth, and to cease being busy about our myriad selfish interests. The time is far spent and we must be about our Father's business.

What justification shall we give for allowing our schools to go teacherless, for the mission fields to lack missionaries, for voluntary service opportunities to be unmet? How shall we explain not helping the needy in our own communities? Dare we look around ourselves to see what God wants done? We must prepare for service by asking God to make us servants right now, right where we are.

Let's yield ourselves utterly to His service!

Overcoming Strife and Vainglory

Got a problem with either of those? (Like I do?)

Do you detect in yourself (as I do in me) a picky attitude or a proud spirit?

If I stop doing anything for the sake of contrariness or self-promotion, how much would I stop doing?

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" (3).

Nothing. Wow!

So...how do I overcome strife and vainglory?

By lowliness...meekness...humility...servanthood...Christ-likeness: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (5).

Nothing. Period.

Sometimes I try to find exceptions to nothing. Well, I don't know that I try so much as that I just live as though God made exceptions to nothing.

For instance, this one:

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" (Philippians 2:3).

How often do I indulge in strife, conflict, pickiness, or grumpiness? Sometimes it is so easy to do something just because I know it will bother somebody.

Nothing, Mark!

And how often do I pursue my own glory? Oh, how easy it can be to do and say things that will result in the praise of men! Even something silly -- positioning my notebook computer in such a way that people can easily see it's a genuine IBM ThinkPad.


The solution?

Lowliness. Humility. Brokenness. The mind of Christ.

I See No Exception

I think I would prefer most instead of all. I think I would like a little more flexibility. I think I would like a few exceptions and allowances.

I say I think because I'm quite certain that the way it is written is the way to maximum joy and satisfaction and blessing.

If I really believe that, then I should prefer all instead of most.

I'm talking about Philippians 2:14 -- see what you think: "Do all things without murmurings and disputings."

This concludes my comments based on the passage for the International Bible Study. To read my comments on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications, click here: Serving for God's Approval.

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