Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Not Pleasing Myself

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME."  (Romans 15:1-3)

God has given us our orders as His children...serve others as Christ served.  While it seems so simple, there are not many things harder than humbling ourselves to the needs and problems of others.  It would be easy if we were told to “tell them what to do,” but we are not called to lordship over others but service.

The thing that seems to intervene in our service to others is our feeling of personal rights.  Why do I have to give up my time and resource because someone else can’t get their act together!  It is not like the Bible did not expect this to be a problem.  Many scriptures speak of the attitude that must accompany Godly service...an attitude of selflessness.  Here lies the real problem...the heart of a man.  Paul strikes a powerful blow to our feeling of personal rights in this fifteenth chapter of Romans. 
There is an ongoing hunger in the life of every person for acceptance.  It is what drives us into social order and relationship.  The fact that you regard me as worthy of your presence, love and support validates me as you accept me as I am and where I am.

The call of God to Christian service involves the responsibility of Christian patience with others.  To "bear the weaknesses" of others does not mean to solve their problems.  God never made us responsible for another man's burden.  To "bear" in this passage is a word that means to endure patiently.

I once had a stone in my office that read, "Please be patient.  God is not finished with me yet."  How true that is for all of us.  The cry here is for us not to demand the spiritual perfection of others that we have not achieved ourselves...or even to demand what we have achieved.

God is dealing with every individual at their personal pace of growth.  The fact that someone does not agree or does not act properly does not mean they are less than you or I.  It merely displays a place of weakness that may need temporary indulgence and understanding until God changes them.  When someone says, "that’s just the way I am", they may be sharing a place of weakness rather than demanding their right to be that way.

The key to this seems to be "not pleasing ourselves".  The course of self-denial is the only course for the believer.  Anytime that you can serve God and always get your way, you can know that you have lost the servant spirit that is sensitive to others.  The nature of God is love and the scripture tells us in I Corinthians 13:5 that "love does not seek its own"

For those of us who are looking out for ourselves and not others, the words each of us is to please his neighbor for his good to his edification, just don’t seem natural.  That is because they are not natural, they are supernatural. Very possibly this is one area of our lives where the Spirit of God must rise up within us to do what we would not naturally do. For the one who seeks to disagree that the fullest of life is possible in this manner, Paul points to the course of life chosen by the Savior, For even Christ did not please Himself

I can make my life better by seeing what I can do for others instead of myself.  Maybe it would be worth a try today.  Would you join me?

Scripture to Claim:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. (Romans 12:10-13)

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