November 15, 2022
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“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV)
I had only one thought when I opened my eyes in the pre-dawn darkness: Why do I have to get up before the sun does? I knew the answer — but I was tired and not thrilled about being awake that early.
My husband and I were part of a team that turned a public school into a church sanctuary on Sunday mornings. Hanging drapes, setting up chairs and transforming classrooms into children’s church rooms were all part of our volunteer description.
Most mornings, I was happy to be serving with my man. This type of work was a welcome change from the roles we each played during the week.
Other mornings, when my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m., my thoughts were not that positive. Sundays are for rest, so why am I not resting?
And still other times, it wasn’t my alarm but my own desire for recognition that tempted me to take my thoughts in the wrong direction. Right there in that high-school cafeteria, the enemy and I would have a knock-down brawl as I fought to serve from a pure heart.
I am guessing I am not the only one who struggles at times with serving in the unseen spaces. We get confused, thinking ministry is more in the spotlight, such as teaching a Bible study. Yet Scripture shows us clearly, through the example of our Savior, what pure service looks like:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:5-7).
Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, made Himself nothing for us, and He did that by assuming the posture of a servant.
If our desire is to be like Jesus, then Paul tells us here in Philippians that serving like Jesus is less flashy than we think. It looks more like taking groceries to our elderly mother. Serving like Jesus is making a meal for women in a local shelter. Serving like Jesus is caring for those who won’t or can’t ever pay us back. This is when we are most like our Savior.
Jesus Himself instructed us in this way: “… whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28, CSB).
When I’m truly serving like Jesus, I am serving Jesus. When we choose to do the hidden work, the less-than-beautiful, unseen work … when we choose to humble ourselves and give our time, effort and resources to those who need love most … this is when we are like Jesus.
Jesus, help me to choose to humble myself and live the hidden, selfless life of a servant. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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We can love people … but we can’t change them. While we can’t control their behavior, we can draw godly boundaries that will actually lead to progress for our relationships. Overcome the frustrating cycle of ineffective boundary-setting by applying practical strategies to help you communicate, keep and implement healthier patterns with Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Good Boundaries and Goodbyes. Order your copy here today!
Esther was a woman who chose to serve, even risking her life for others. To learn more of her not-so-obvious process to becoming God’s servant, grab a copy of Lynn Cowell and Amy Carroll’s new Bible study: Esther: Seeing Our Invisible God in an Uncertain World. Click here to order your copy!
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.” (CSB)
How are humility and serving others closely related? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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