Are you focused more on yourself . . . or your Savior? What would those closest to you say about you? If we watched a video of how you spent this past week, what would we conclude about your focus? One of the best ways to answer this question is to take an inventory of your thinking during those times when you have nothing much to think about. I know that sounds contradictory, but it really isn’t. When you have nothing pressing to think about, where does your mind wander off to?
By nature we all think far too much about ourselves and far too little about our Savior. We think about our goals, our desires, our ambitions, our wants, our preferences, our position, our power, our prestige, and our place at the table. Self-rule is the order of the day as we seek to further our agenda and our kingdom instead of His agenda and His kingdom.
The cure for slaying this stronghold is found only in the Gospel. The Gospel is the story of One who was so other-oriented that He willingly set aside all the glory of the King of kings and laid His life down for others. His life is the model for all those who are children of the Master.
If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 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 made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11)
The Gospel tells us that service is the key that unlocks the stronghold of self-focus. When we are focused on others and looking to their interests, we have no time to focus on ourselves. Putting others first enables us to go to the back of the line and forego the chief seats. This is what Jesus has done for us. Is it not right that we do the same for others?
When we in humility count others more significant than ourselves, we are not thinking less of ourselves; we are simply thinking of ourselves less. By the power of the Gospel we fulfill the two greatest commandments: loving God and others. And when we fail—which we do daily—we run to Jesus for the complete cleansing of perfect and pervasive forgiveness that His blood provides. Daily reminders of our forgiveness in Christ free us to focus more on Him and the countless Gospel benefits we have been given. And one of the most precious of these benefits is the privilege of serving Him and others!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!