If you have a cell phone, chances are at some point you’ve taken a “selfie”, maybe even posted it on social media so that others can see what you are up to. Yesterday I ran across something someone posted that made me think about what our “selfies” should look like. Here’s what the Bible says: “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.” (Galatians 2:20) As I read through the following list, I admit that l certainly fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
- Be that one who loves that which is unlovable.
- Be that one who returns kindness for spite.
- Be that one who forgives when deep heart offense happens.
- Be that one who sees past the insult into the wounded heart.
- Be that one who shines into lives who rest in darkness.
- Be that one who speaks spirit and life.
- Be that one who repents first.
- Be that one who walks straight.
- Be that one who understands the heart of God.
- Be that one who prays with that understanding.
- Be that one who heals broken hearts.
- Be that one who lives inside of you.
In reading through the list, I was reminded of a couple of passages that gives us a “picture” of how we should love one another–with abandon, and without regard first for ourselves. That is not a natural response for the natural man, but those of us who are made new in Christ have Christ living IN us. Luke 6:27-36 gives us the following picture:
- Love your enemies
- Do good to those who hate you
- Bless those who curse you
- Pray for those who mistreat you
- Treat others the same way you want them to treat you
- Expect nothing in return
Not only are we to think of others first, such as our loved ones and friends, but that same “others first” attitude is to also be given to those who hate and malign us. And with that instruction comes a promise: “your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (vv 35-36)
There is no place in this passage that tells us that it’s okay to feel offended (or “righteously indignant”) by anyone else’s actions or attitudes. That’s a trap of the devil. “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:23-26)
Since Christ now lives in us, we have been reconciled with God (2 Cor. 5:19), which frees us to grow into His likeness (Rom. 8:29). And we have His power to overcome our “natural man’s” response to others because we have the hope of His glory (Col. 1:27). And in His power, we can lay aside our selfish ambition, and “in humility value others above [ourselves]” looking “to the interests of the others” (Phil. 2:2-4).
How we act toward others shows the world who Christ is because we are His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). In fact, “those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:15). If we are living for the Lord and not ourselves, how can we fall into the devil’s trap and become offended for ourselves? Today I was reminded that when I’m offended, it becomes all about me, which is prideful and is sin. But because “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”, I don’t righteously have that option. The Lord doesn’t hold our repented offenses against us, so we cannot hold onto offenses with others; we must give grace upon grace (John 1:16). The grace we show others (even if deserved), is the same undeserved grace we have been given (Eph. 2:8). That is a beautiful picture!