In my Bible study yesterday, I read the most surprising statement. A speaker once asked what God expected of us. After people gave answers, he responded “All God ever expects of you is failure.” But then he said, “But He has given you the Holy Spirit so that you need never fail.” Peter, the rock on whom Jesus would build His church failed numerous times (Matthew 16:13-23, 23:31-45, 26:69-75; John 18:10-11).
I looked into where I have failed in all my roles: step-parent, sibling, spouse, friend, church member, volunteer, daughter, niece, cousin, employee, Christian witness and many more including as a child of God. What keeps coming up over and over again is that there have been numerous times that I have thought of myself–my needs, desires, and feelings before others in my life, including the Lord.
But Scripture clearly says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:… He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Phil. 2:3-5, 7) So as I said previously, too often I have looked to my own interests instead of first looking to the interests of others. I do have good intentions, but my follow through is certainly not the best. But I don’t want to sugarcoat it, looking to my interests first is clearly sin, and sin that needs to be repented.
As believers, we should have a different attitude, one that enables us to lay aside our “rights” in order to serve others. If we say we follow Christ, we must also say that we want to live as He lived. We should develop His attitude of humility as we serve, even when we are not likely to get recognition for our efforts here on earth.
The Lord who created us, knows our weaknesses. He knows we are flawed humans who are unable on our own power and will to live as Christ. So He sent us a helper, an advocate. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26) We have to be willing to listen in prayer and in meditating on His Word while we prayerfully ask for Him to point out what we need to let go of in order to purify our hearts. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)
In my walk here on earth as a Christian, I must be mindful that I may be the only glimpse someone sees today of our beloved Savior and Lord. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) So will I selfishly cling to my “rights”, or will I serve as Jesus did? I cannot do it on my own power, but in repenting of my sin, and in the power of Jesus, I can. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)