Personal ambition and servant-hood aren’t always compatible. In fact, they are often at odds with each other. A servant’s goal is to please his or her master in whatever way is required, but personal ambition strives for self-advancement. Jesus’ words from today’s passage must have sounded foreign to the disciples’ ears since, according to the thinking of their culture, greatness was acquired by striving for it, not by serving.
Like them, we live in a world where many people are seeking to make a name for themselves. They set goals, make plans, and do whatever is necessary to achieve what they’ve set out to do. But as Christians, we’re to live by a different standard: exalt Christ, obey His commands, and serve Him faithfully by doing His will, not our own.
We’re not called to gain fame and fortune by leaving our footprints in concrete for all to admire. Our task is to humbly follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Whether our lives have a large or small impact is up to God, not us. The greatest acts of service are not usually flashy displays; more often they’re commonplace gestures like being kind to strangers, ministering to fellow believers, and praying for others.
Jesus humbled Himself, surrendered His rights, and obeyed God even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). Being His servant begins with the same attitude. It requires helping others when it’s not convenient, doing tasks that are not glamorous, and obeying the Lord even if it’s costly. We aren’t on earth to build our own kingdom but to faithfully serve God as He builds His.
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—Proverbs 13:20
Compromise may be helpful for some relationships, but it can hurt our spiritual journey. Bending God’s principles is risky.
For example, suppose a Christian man makes some new acquaintances, who don’t share his beliefs. Having grown up in the church, he has practically memorized Proverbs 13:20—“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—and recognizes the verse is meant to protect Christians from worldly influences. But he rationalizes that spending time here or there with these friends won’t hurt him. Eventually, however, he ends up spending more time with them than with believers and begins to question his own beliefs. Heeding that proverb might have helped him avoid drifting away from the heavenly Father.
To navigate such situations, we must look ahead for possible danger. Even choices that seem trivial can have far-reaching consequences. But the Lord equips us with a conscience and the Holy Spirit, who sounds an alarm if we veer into dangerous territory.
For us to hear these warnings, our heart must be tuned into God’s Spirit and Word. Relying on our own understanding can lead to trouble. But those who trust the Lord and apply His principles will find straight paths through potentially dangerous situations.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; Give thanks to Him and praise His name. — Psalm 100:4
Friends, we’re entering a season that requires our whole-hearted attention, our riveted focus. This is important. For our souls. For our hearts. For our faith. So we don’t miss out on the beauty God intends for us. Right here. Right now.
This is a clarion call to thankfulness, a charge to find joy, and strength, and hope in our daily lives, a beckoning to pour out our gratitude to God for His goodness and for His wild love for us.
As you gather with friends and family to celebrate the holidays, remember, it is God who should receive our entire devotion. His love for us extends beyond imagination. His love for us is everlasting and without any strings attached.
When you pray at Thanksgiving for what you’re thankful for, put God’s love for you and the world at the top of your list.
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.— Philippians 4:12-13 NLT
What are you drawn to when you feel down and empty inside? Is it the desire for more or better possessions or is it something else? Will things really fill that empty place in your life or is there something better?
The answer lies in your perspective, your priorities, and your source of power. When you become a Christian God gives you the Holy Spirit to lead you through life. He provides the best wisdom on the right choices to make.
No matter what you have, be it a little or a lot, you will always have enough through God’s provision. And, the best part is you will have peace without wanting more.
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob.—Psalm 24:4-6
Genuine worship requires a heart of faith and a disposition of obedience to God. It would be difficult for unbelievers to worship the Lord, because they don’t have the Holy Spirit and cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). Nor does God find worship acceptable from believers who cling unrepentantly to sin (Ps. 66:18). Drawing near to Him requires clean hands and a pure heart, which is possible only through Jesus Christ (Ps. 24:4-6).
The goal of worship is to glorify God, and it begins with our attitude. We must come into His presence with a repentant and humble heart, a mind focused on Him, and a life that demonstrates obedience.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your path straight.”—Proverbs 3:5-6
Friday is a day of the week so many look forward to because it represents the coming of the weekend and time for relaxation. Relaxation that does not involve worrying about anything. Just taking it easy is the way to go. Oh, of course the troubles and worries of the week are still there but now is not the time to think about them, or is it?
Prayer time, bible reading and worship throughout the week will give you the peace you need to handle whatever comes your way during the week. There is no need to wait until the weekend to blow off steam. Going to God in prayer and blowing off steam, and yes it’s OK to do that with God because He already knows what you’re dealing with, is permissible.
Asking for, waiting for and receiving God’s guidance on how to live your life and handle the daily pitfalls is as close as a prayer. God understands what you’re going through and wants to help if you’ll let Him.
Before you start your weekend, pray and ask God what’s the best way to live your life and handle the challenges you face. He will be happy to answer you and will invite you to worship Him daily from then on.
Give God a chance. He won’t let you down.
I pray that God will add His blessings to your day. If you’ve not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior then may I encourage you to do so. If you have questions about “being saved”, may I recommend you talk to a pastor or reach out to a friend that you know who follows the Lord. The decision you reach today will have eternal consequences. I pray you will make the right choice.