By Topic

Selfishness

Thursday

February 23, 2017

Going G.O.M.O.

Read

Revelation 3:15-16, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of My mouth." 

Think

Isn’t it amazing how many internet acronyms there are. One website listed 668! And not only do more keep cropping up, there’s even one for a new phobic phenomenon called FOMO, which stands for the ‘fear of missing out’. It’s defined as “an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media”. Hmm… seems ridiculous, right? Wrong! It happens all the time; it’s an epidemic. Well, sometimes in our walk with Jesus we experience FOMO about what’s happening elsewhere. But what we need to do is forget about our FOMO and think GOMO, which means ‘God offers more opportunities’ than anything people are posting about on social media.

Yesterday we talked about the importance of leaving the past behind, growing more like Christ, and the necessity of staying on track with God’s plan. But once we’ve committed to our faith, we might be trekking right along when we encounter a new challenge that befalls all Christ followers somewhere along the way—spiritual lethargy. In fact, in today’s verse, Jesus is rebuking the church in Laodicea for being lukewarm. Surely He caught their attention with, “I’m about to spit you out of My mouth”. Yikes! However, the key word here is ‘about’, which leaves a small space for grace. It makes room for reigniting a passion for the gospel. Yet it’s also an imperative command meaning don’t wait, do it now! Are you taking a spiritual nap? Are you more concerned about what others are doing than you are for what God wants to do through you? Forget about missing the meaningless, and be mindful of all the amazing opportunities God has in store for your life.

Pray

Father God, I take to heart Jesus’ warning about being lukewarm. Make me hot! Reignite in me a new passion to be active in my faith and help me to treasure my relationship with You. I’m sorry for allowing myself to elevate my own interests and desires above Yours. And I thank You in advance for all of the amazing things I know You will do in and through my life.

Act

Check your spiritual temperature by asking yourself the following questions:
• Do I depend on God on a daily basis?
• Do I rarely share my faith because it makes me feel uncomfortable?
• Do I care more about being free from the penalty of sin than being saved?
• Do I live by faith or do I always prefer to play it safe?

 

Monday

January 23, 2017

Sin-i-ty

Read

Ephesians 2:1-3, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”

Think

There is a fascination with zombies in our current culture. We talk about what we’d do if there was a zombie apocalypse and “The Walking Dead” is all the rage. The interesting thing, though, is although brainless, tattered, and torn looking monsters aren’t trying to take over the world, we pass by zombies—walking dead people—every day within the spiritual realm. When sin entered the world, so did the Law of Inevitable Consequences – the wrath that we deserve due to our sinful and selfish nature. Paul reminds us of this in Ephesians 2. It’s called the sinfulness of sin, the “sin-i-ty”: the world, Satan, and the flesh. Too often we let the world squeeze us into its mold. The devil is trying to distort our perception of the gospel just enough to thwart us from God’s purpose. And we are always faced with the temptation to indulge in God-given desires in ungodly ways.

This scenario has the potential to become a very sad song in our lives full of the hopelessness that sin brings. But there is good news – God can make that sad song better. We can break the world’s mold! We can refuse to buy into Satan’s lies! And we can resist temptation! When we lean on the gospel of peace—the righteous life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have the security of life change and forgiveness. No longer are we among the spiritually dead when we live out a life of fullness, blessing, purpose, and passion for Jesus. If you’re among the living, then you need to be shining the light of Christ among the dead. If you’re among the dead, then seek the light of God’s grace through Christ.

Pray

If you’re among the living in Christ, pray for at least two “dead” people to accept your invitation to experience the great things going on at FC. If you have yet to ask Jesus into your life and want to pray for salvation simply say: "God, I admit to you that I am a sinner. I’ve tried to do life on my own and have failed miserably. I turn from my sin and turn to you. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead. I choose to die to myself and rise into the life you created for me in Lord Jesus. And in His name I pray, Amen."

Act

Read Ephesians 2 in the New Living Translation (NLT). If you have just prayed the salvation prayer for the first time, then click here to learn about taking the next step.

 

Friday

December 30, 2016

King of Kings

Read

Philippians 2:5-8, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

Think

Today, our most prevalent image of royalty is the English Royal Family, synonymous with privilege, wealth, and entitlement. We constantly see photos of Prince William, Kate, and their two children. But, we can only wonder what life is truly like for them behind the hats, handshakes, and smiles. Although seen publically, they are untouchable. Essentially, you will not run into Charles and Camilla at the local coffee shop. In contrast, it’s intriguing that the King of Kings lived such a modest life. And that He is always approachable and always available.

We are all naturally selfish. It is our nature to put ourselves first with an air of entitlement. Knowing this, God encourages us to imitate Christ’s humility. Jesus was God incarnate, yet on earth, He came to serve—not be served. Fully God and fully man, He never leaned on His divinity for thirty-three years. In fact, not only did He become a humble servant, He became the object of public humiliation, hatred, and scorn. We cannot even begin to imagine what He felt shouldering the burden of all sin and suffering. Therefore, we must be obedient, diligent, earnest, and others-focused in our Christian walk. Only then will our lives become an act of worship as we serve the King of Kings.

Pray

Praise God for commissioning Jesus to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death. Thank Him for accepting you as a work in progress. And ask for guidance as you seek to empty yourself of self to become a selfless, humble, and obedient servant in Christ.

Act

Did you know that you are royalty? As a child of God, you are a co-heir with Christ in line to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. As a reminder of this, memorize I John 1:3, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

 

Wednesday

October 5, 2016

Ride of Pride

Read

Proverbs 16:8, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”.

I Peter 5:5, “All of you, clothe yourselves in humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’”.

Think

Pride is the forerunner of all sin. And when it comes to pride, we are often blind to this reality. We don’t like to think of ourselves as prideful, nor do we happily admit to narcissistic behavior. Therefore, we become masters of the rephrase: “I’m not lustful—I’m just a red-blooded American” “I’m not greedy—I just like nice things” or “I’m not envious—I’m just competitive”.  Well, we can think whatever we want, but the tissue of the issue is that pride can easily infiltrate and dominate every area of our lives. So, the minute we claim to have no issues with pride we are blatantly confirming that we do. Overinflated egos indicate sadly deflated self-esteems. Thus, we knowingly and unknowingly tend to employ pride to mask our insecurities. We even resort to elevating ourselves above others to soothe our broken and bruised egos. It’s biblical—Lucifer attempted to elevate himself above God and was cast out of heaven. In defeat, he presented Adam and Eve an elevation opportunity that resulted in an eviction notice from paradise.

Pride is power out of control and therefore ineffective. The antithesis, the key to spiritual and emotional success,  is humility—power under control. The humble recognize God’s gifts and take notice of His amazing works everywhere and in everything, giving thanks for His grace and abounding love. When He is our primary focus—when we shift from me to Thee—He will use us in ways we never thought imaginable. Are you currently on the ride of pride or are you giving God the glory He deserves?

Pray

Today, ask Jesus to open your heart and remove pride (known and unknown). And in surrender, tell Him you want to do life His way.

Act

Social media can be used as a vehicle for the ride of pride or it can be leveraged for greatness.  Review your posts over the past few months. Are you posting or boasting? Are your posts encouraging or discouraging to others? Are you representing God or paying homage to yourself on the world’s largest stage?

 

Thursday

July 14, 2016

The God Grid

Read

Philippians 2:3-5, “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 others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”.

Think

We have all engaged in conversations with one-uppers, speak-overs, verbal hijackers, and “I, me, and my” attackers. It’s fatiguing to say the least. Some, though, are drawn to the exact people that most of us try to dodge in restaurants and grocery stores. Singles, even if you feel a modicum of attraction to these people—run! Because when it comes to rating your dating, you will find that conversationally self-absorbed people are equally self-centric in other areas. Now, to be fair, we are all selfish by nature. We have all taken the ride of pride. We have all put our own interests before others. But as Christ followers, we know that the Bible clearly says to love others as you love yourself, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and serve others. Therefore it’s crucial to build relationships with those who truly desire to please God and model Christ.

Jesus could have said, “You know, I just don’t feel like being tortured, mocked, cursed, and crucified”—but He didn’t. He humbled Himself to the point of death. Sinless and pure, He died a criminal’s death for us—the ultimate act of selflessness. Like Christ, we must be willing to step outside of our comfort zones and serve others. With this mentality, we will attract like-minded people. Nonetheless, rate your dates, select spouses, and build relationships by putting them through the God grid. Do they put Christ first? Do they have a servant’s heart? Are they good listeners? When you look at them, do you see Christ? If they pass the test you just might have found a match made in heaven.

Pray

Today, without making personal requests, ask God what you can do to serve Him. And pray for opportunities to assist others.

Act

Perform a random act of kindness. Here are a few suggestions: Simply smile. Let someone go before you in line. Pay for the person behind you in a drive through. Give a compliment. Bring your coworkers a special treat. Make a donation. Tip big. Offer to return someone’s shopping cart. Send a note of encouragement.

 

Wednesday

July 6, 2016

Stay Aligned

Read

"Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. , and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- just as the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom.  Mathew 20: 26-28"

Think

When you think about living a life of purpose, what are your first thoughts? For most people, the idea of serving others is not the first idea that comes to mind.  However, when we look at Jesus’ life and His example of what it means to live on purpose serving others is the central theme.  Because when we identify our God-given purpose, inevitably, we will identify how God wants us to serve others. 

But serving others is not only beneficial to those we serve, serving also brings us satisfaction.  We were created to serve. Through service, we are able to see the big picture, press forward despite difficult situations, and stay aligned in the things of God.  Are you experiencing the benefits of serving?

Pray

When you pray about your purpose, ask God to reveal ways you can serve others. Pray for opportunities to put others first today.

Act

There are a number of ways you can serve other people. But one of the most important is through the local church. If you haven’t signed up to serve yet, you can do it right now. Don’t let the opportunity to serve others slip past you!

 

Friday

January 15, 2016

Mirroring Christ

Read

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

Think

Every relationship we have on earth is a relationship between us and another person. Each of those people, naturally speaking, is a self-centered person. So are we. Why? Because we all naturally focus first on our needs, our wants, and our desires. Yet, one of the biggest keys to healthy and successful relationships swims directly against that current. That key is UNSELFISHNESS.

No one in history has ever been more unselfish that Jesus Christ. Because of that, if we hope to succeed relationally, we must mirror and mimic His attitude. When we place the other person’s needs ahead of ours, we set the course for relational success. It shows the other person that they are truly important to us, just as God, through Christ, showed how important we are to Him. Are your relationships characterized by that unselfish attitude?

Pray

Admit to God those times when you have had a selfish and self-centered outlook in your relationships. Pray for the kind of heart you need to make unselfishness a characteristic of every relationship you have.

Act

Who is the most important relationship in your life? The person you are dating? Your children? Your best friend? Ask that person to help you identify ways that you could raise the sail of unselfishness so that your relationship can reach the level God has in store for it!

 

Thursday

November 13, 2014

It’s Not About You

Read

“Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, ‘Let the Hebrews hear!’ So all Israel heard the news: ‘Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.’ And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.” 1 Samuel 13:3-4

Think

One of the biggest ways to give into the fear of rejection is by falling into the trap of pride. So often, we can be so fearful of others rejecting us that we begin to over-promote who we are, what we’ve done. In other words, we begin to toot our own horn. But have you ever considered the words you speak to yourself? Often, we can speak badly about ourselves because we’ve heard those same things from others in our lives – from the wrong “they.” God, though, has something to say that many people may never tell us. His message to us is simply, “I love you.”

In today’s verse, Saul literally had the trumpets blown to announce what “he” had done, when in reality it was Jonathan who won the battle. Saul’s pride refused to acknowledge the accomplishment of someone else; his fear of rejection caused him to lie about something he never did.

Don’t be so insecure that you refuse to acknowledge the accomplishments of others. Instead, compliment others and discover the freedom from the fear of rejection!

Pray

Ask God to keep you humble before you begin promoting yourself. Pray for the ability to instead compliment others for what they have done.

Act

On your social media accounts today, don’t talk about yourself. Instead, point to what someone in your life is doing so you can take the “me” out of social media – if just for one day.