Wednesday, October 3, 2007

We're All in This Together

** Wednesday's devotion for revival prep **

Read Philippians 1:27 - 2:4

“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
Philippians 2:3 – 4 MSG

Strong words for all of us in those verses. Let’s just look at each phrase individually for a moment.

• Don’t push your way to the front. Think about a group of children who have been offered ice cream. Everyone wants to be the first one to get it so they push and shove to be at the front of the line. Aren’t we sometimes a lot like children? We want to make sure we get to the front of the line for whatever blessing or honor or attention is available.
• Don’t sweet-talk your way to the front. Eddie Haskell – the consummate sweet-talker. People like that really drive us crazy – unless we are the people like that.
• Put yourself aside. Tough to do, huh? We live in a “ME” world where we are constantly bombarded with the message that what works best for me is the final consideration in any decision.
• Help others get ahead. Hmm, how often does this happen? When was the last time you or someone you know declined an opportunity in order to give someone else a chance – and did it not for recognition but because of a genuine desire to see another succeed?
• Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Isn’t that so like us? We want to schedule the Sunday School social on the day that best fits our calendar. We want everything to work out so that it is convenient for us.
• Forget about yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Church workdays. Volunteering in a community ministry or agency. Visiting a homebound member of the church. Working in the nursery. As Rick Warren says at the beginning of The Purpose-Filled Life, “It’s not about you!”

So often we are completely unaware of the self-centeredness of our lives. We don’t take time to consider how we can be investing in the lives of others, how we can be ministering in the life of our church, how we can be used in our community. We are just caught up in the “ME” mentality of our culture. But, we are called to something higher – to invest in others, to put other ahead of ourselves. Perhaps the words of Jesus say it best, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35 NIV). When we love each other, we work together. When we love each other, we put others needs ahead of our own. When we love each other, the world will notice.

The goal for today is UNITY. Loving one another, putting each other’s needs ahead of our own, ministering to one another, setting ME aside – the result of all of these is unity. Being bound together by a genuine selflessness. Where do you stand today? Do you have a heart to see others succeed? Do you work to help others grow? Is your life marked by helpful service? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can grow in love and produce unity among believers.

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