Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ME FIRST! (Growth Series)


Isn't Christianity supposed to be is known for unselfishness and denial of self?
Normally, we advocate of putting ourselves above others but in one aspect of the Christian life -
I wholeheartedly endorse an extreme "me-first" attitude!

Has the universe become unhinged? Not at all - but there is one area in our walk with Christ where we are to put ourselves above others!

This might startle or shock our senses at first glance - but hear me out!

When an airplane is getting ready to takeoff, the steward or stewardess instructs the passenger about when to remain seated and what to do if the plane begins an unexpected downward descent. "A mask will drop from the compartment above you. Place the mask on your face like this."

Then they give what at first may sound like a peculiar instruction. "If you are with a child or someone who cannot place their own mask on their face - PUT YOUR MASK ON FIRST!" How selfish is that? A small child or elderly person is passing out right next to us and we should think of ourselves first!?

You get the principle! If you pass out while you are trying to help a child with their mask, you will potentially both pass out! If you put on your mask, you will be able to breathe well enough to help the child!

The same principle is in effect in the Christian life! If we try to help others in the world before we have FIRST taken care of our own spiritual life, we will lack the energy to help them effectively! If we put God first, we will be able to breathe in the Holy Spirit of God so that we have the divine power to help others!

It may seem counterintuitive to spend time seeking God first - above helping others! We may immediately want to rush out do good works that will help people. If we do, we have unknowingly chosen a path that will severely limit our ability to help the very people we want to help!

A lumberjack may be full of desire to cut down as many trees as he can in order to be a faithful employee. Yet if he does not take the time to first sharpen his axe, he will not have good results. Have you ever tried cutting something with a very dull tool or knife. As well intentioned as you might be - it just does not do the job!

Time spent seeking God is never wasted!

48 And you are witnesses of these things.
49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but TARRY [wait] in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Luke 24:48-49

The desire to love and help others is commendable but it is not enough - we first need to wait before God until we are properly equipped to do the job!

We need to have the Word of God hidden in our hearts, have a strong powerful prayer life and be in a body of believers where spiritual excellence is embraced!

The world will not be changed or saved because we do some of the same works they do. It will be changed when, as a result of being full of God, we do those works in His strength and power, His way with His wisdom!

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
Zechariah 4:6

If we operate in our way and in our own strength and wisdom, we will fail miserably! We may have a lot of outward success doing works for which the world will commend us. But if they are not done God's way - under His authority, power and wisdom - they are really just dead works!

When I pray, I have a tendency to start by bringing my perceived needs and the needs of others to God. But I have learned that God's FIRST priority is for ME to be lined up with Him, His Word and His ways!

Prayer then, is not so much us pressuring God to line up with what we want as it is allowing God to line us up with what He wants! We are successful in prayer when we have exchanged our own will agenda for His!

Put on your mask so that you will be able to breathe freely - then and only then - go out to help the world!

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