May 2017

“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1–2 (ESV)

A quick review of our journey: January began our journey considering the opening about how we want to be regarded. February considered, what does it mean to be “servants of Christ”? “What is a servant?” March followed with the critically important affirmation that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is essential to identify whose servant we are. April explored servanthood.

Let us now consider the motivation for our service. In Matthew 20:25–28 (ESV) 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus is rather direct in saying the Kingdom of Heaven operated on a very different platform than the kingdom of this world. The rulers of the Gentiles (non-Christians) operate in their own way but that can never be the way of the church. It can never be the way of the church because it is not the way of the church’s head, Jesus Christ. We serve because we are His. (review April’s article)

Here is our example, Philippians 2:5–7 (ESV) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Examine the text, fix your mind. How and what you think about drives your life. So think about Jesus, who He is, what He did, and what He invites us to do. Then empty yourself. Now I realize that in this day and age what the text suggests is ridiculous. Every voice in this world is trying to puff me up. Every therapist is all about self-image and loving yourself. How many times have you heard the saying, “you can’t love others until you love yourself”? Well the news flash is if you truly love yourself you will never love others, because you have all you need or want. Jesus emptied himself. He released His pride, self-image, desires, position, prerogatives and rights so that He could take the most contradictory form of a servant. He let go of everything He was entitled to, so that He might show us the way.

We can never effectively serve Jesus until we are willing to let go of self. Let go of my wants, my ways, and my will to take His yoke upon myself. My mind must change and my heart (will central) must change to embrace His new life.  The apostle Paul puts this same thought in another way in Galatians 2:20 (ESV) “20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” If I am not willing to be crucified with Christ then I am not willing to follow Him. It is a hard saying. One that requires a great deal of reflection and commitment. Without it and the decision to die to self I can never be a real follower of Jesus.

Here is my  true servant motivation, that Jesus Christ lives in me and through me to redeem a lost and fallen world. His life, in mine, pointing to the glorious calling of of God for reconciliation and sanctification. To the end that we become fully functioning children of God and participants in the Kingdom of Heaven.

How to accomplish this? Pray and seek God’s face. Immerse yourself in His Word for understanding. Fix your mind so that Jesus is at the center and your thinking reflects His way. Crucify the flesh with all its desires and ambitions so that you can take upon yourself the fullness of Christ. All this accomplished by faith under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, our “Paraclete.”

Then I can be a servant.