Philippians 2:3–4 (NIV): “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”.
We ourselves are loved and cherished by God, but we are not to be self centered; we are to “value others above ourselves.”
To be sure, we maintain a healthy and secure lifeline to Our Father, but then, having all of our needs met by God, we go out and serve others, looking for ways to bring value into others’ lives. In fact, living to serve others is the surest way to get all of our needs met by Our Father.
God is concerned about the welfare of everyone, but his intimacy, wisdom, strength, and courage are found with his selfless servants.
It is undoubtedly a paradox that the best way to live is to die to ourselves, but it is nonetheless true. It is the pathway first trod by Our Savior, and it is still the way to our Father’s heart.
He cherishes those that follow the path of Christ in selfless, humble obedience. The “beatitudes” in Mathew Chapter 5 outline the blessings of those living for Christ; theirs will be the mercy of God, the righteousness of God, the kingdom of heaven, the comfort of God, the vision of God, sonship with God, the inheritance of the earth, and great reward in heaven.
To learn that every soul is precious in God’s eyes is Kingdom Living 101.
Without a proper regard for others, we are perpetually in Remedial Training 101. It is far superior in life to humble ourselves at the outset and go on to the heights with Our Master than to forever be found wandering in the desert wondering if we will ever find the “promised land.”
Life here is too brief to waste time. As Jesus said: “I must work the work of God during the day; the night is coming when no man can work.”
We overlook a gorge from our home here in Cyprus. I have been thinking about this word this past week. A gorge is technically like a valley, but usually seen as a bit more rocky and treacherous than a valley. Walking through a valley is usually pleasant. Hiking a gorge can be a tumultuous.
The word gorge is used in some translations for how animals eat. “Do not gorge yourself as animals do…” It doesn’t usually mean something pleasant. Often is is quite disgusting.
It is also used in one translation for Luke 3:4-6 It was just as had been written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Yesha’yahu (Isaiah), “The voice of someone crying out: ‘In the desert prepare the way for Adonai! Make straight paths for him! Every valley must be filled in, every mountain and hill leveled off; the winding roads must be straightened and the rough ways made smooth. Then all humanity will see God’s deliverance.’”
I did not use that translation for the verses above. These are from the CJB as I usually use. However, one could see how the word “gorge” could be used instead of valley. I don’t believe that the valley spoken of was a beautiful place. It was a rough place that needed to be smoothed out.
With all that is happening in our world, there is lots of turmoil. Rocky places and situations. Cities people don’t want to visit because of looting, rioting and other negative events. People “gorging” themselves on media lies and technology spins of opinions. There is a lot of “junk.”
The prophet Isaiah said the words above. John the Immerser repeated them. The people of the day, in both situations, were choosing to put man-made laws and traditions above the heart of God. They were choosing to follow other gods from the nations living around them. They were NOT following God’s intent.
Our world today is in the same position. We put our desires and needs above God’s. We hold to the selfishness of the world around us instead of listening to Him. We are walking through these rough places and don’t even notice that it is leading us astray. We think it is all “normal.”
The questions we need to ask ourselves, “Are we preparing the way for the Lord’s return?” “Are we ‘in the valley’ doing our best to fill it in so He can be glorified?” “Are we ‘straightening the winding road’ or just meandering along not really caring?”
I am not an outspoken person. I am considered quiet and gentle. However, I know that when asked, I do my best to speak Truth and make a clear path that is smooth. I don’t want friends wandering or stumbling. I want to see them KNOW the deliverance of God.
In these days and times, as the Coming of the Lord gets closer and closer, we need to be like John the Immerser. We need to be a “voice in the desert.” We need to help make the roads as smooth as we can. No stress. Just speaking the Truth with His love.
Then the valleys, hills, gorges and mountains will ALL give Him praise.
This coming week, take the opportunity to be His Light to those around you. We might be walking in tumultuous situations, but the gorge will not be difficult to walk through if we are walking with Him. As He leads and guides, you will find the rough places made smooth.
For the past month, I have heard the Lord say over and over to me: “JUST ASK.” I have shared this with my Church, and I want to share it with you as well – What do you need? This is a fresh invitation to ASK.
“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?” – Luke 11:11, NASB
You can come boldly, confidently and securely, because you are His CHILD. You are His precious one. You are NOT an orphan. You are NOT a victim. And He is a GOOD FATHER, who only longs to give you GOOD THINGS when you ASK HIM.
Ask for the first time, or ask again. All ears are on YOU.
ASK! I hear Him say…ask, I will hear. I am waiting to shower you with My love and My provision and My ever-increasing glory. I want to give you MORE. I want to bless My children. I want to meet your every need. I am so FOR YOU. I’m just waiting on you to ASK ME.
Ask and I will give you the nations (Psalm 2:8).
Ask and I will tell you great secrets you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3).
Ask in my Name and I will do it (John 14:13).
Ask and I will give you wisdom (James 1:5).
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7)
Now is your season. If you’ve been afraid to ask God for things in the past, I invite you to do so NOW. He’s a good Father, waiting to give you good things. And even if what you ask isn’t what He has in mind, you can TRUST that because He is a good Father, the answer to your prayer will be BETTER THAN EXPECTED (see Ephesians 3:20).
Another thing to note is that He does not WITHHOLD any good thing from you, if you love Him (Psalm 84:11). He doesn’t hold out on you because of your mistakes or bad choices. He is a Father who loves to dote upon His children!
“For the Lord God is brighter than the brilliance of a sunrise! Wrapping himself around me like a shield, he is so generous with his gifts of grace and glory. Those who walk along his paths with integrity will never lack one thing they need, for he provides it all!” (Psalms 84:11, TPT).
There is really only one thing for which we are responsible in this life, and that is to “wait on the Lord.”
We can accomplish very little for God in this life through our own efforts; we are absolutely dependent on Christ living his life through us moment by moment and day by day, and that is the beauty and the blessing of kingdom life—he is absolutely willing and able to “work and will in us for his good pleasure.”
The hard part of kingdom living is the crucification of the self life. It is only after denying ourselves that we able to hear his voice and respond to his directions as we navigate the difficult terrain of the enemy’s territory. Christ has ceded this “world” to his arch nemesis; all those that don’t belong to Christ are by default given to the enemy’s power and influence.
It is no exaggeration to say that we are operating behind enemy lines.
However, our communication and supply lines to heaven remain open 24/7—we have access to all the wisdom, knowledge, and strength that we need in order to accomplish our individual and corporate missions.
So, back to the waiting part: we operate in God’s strength and on his timetable, not the other way around.
We want to be found waiting on Our Father rather than him having to wait on us; though, to be sure, he is well able to wait on his people as long as it takes to get us surrendered to his will. He is much more patient and long suffering than we are; he is outside of time and space, and has plenty to do while he waits for us to line up with his sovereign will.
So, let us be sure that the top item in our priority list is to be found “waiting on the Lord,” for then we will have no lack of any provision as we march and fight in this great battle to win souls for all eternity!
In Christ, we must be careful to paint an accurate picture of life in Christ. We are no longer independent agents trying to earn God’s favor (bar too low). Neither are we yet perfected and free from the trials and tribulations of life (bar too high).
Rather, through our faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, we have died with Christ, and through faith in his resurrection, we live with Christ; Christ is now our life.
All progress and joy in our Christian life is to be found in our devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). We pray; we study the Bible; we go to church, and we go to work each day with our motivation being the desire to please Our Lord and Savior. We love others because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Even our victory over sin is dependent on our devotion to Christ: as we keep our eyes on Christ, Our Father works on our behalf to give us the strength, courage, and the wisdom to say no to harmful temptations. We now have right standing with him that comes through our faith in the atoning sacrifice of his Son, and we are able to say “yes” to obedience and “no” to disobedience.
Every “yes” answer to Our Father is another jewel in our crown of righteousness, given to those who long for his appearing. Every “no” answer to temptation is a jewel in our crown of life, given to those who persevere under trial.
Every “yes” to God is a “yes” to life; every “no” to sin is a “no” to death and the enemy of Christ, Satan.
This is the essence of “spiritual warfare”—learning how to say “yes” to life and “no” to death.
Then, we go out and bring others in and teach them how to walk with Our Savior in the light of life (John 8:12).