Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Learning To Be Responsible For Each Other

More and more, as I walk throughout my life, I find myself wondering “Am I really giving everything I can be giving to God and His purposes for my life?” I’ll admit, sometimes I really don’t like the answer I get back. It’s during these times of reflection that I sit back and think about every area of my life that I feel needs to be given up to God. Unfortunately, I've realized that I tend to contemplate what’s weighing me down at the moment. I concern myself with all these “negative-nancy tendencies” as I call them, in which I allow all the things “going wrong right now” or all the things “causing me to constantly worry” dominate my attitude for the day and completely control how I dictate the way I live my life from day to day. Guys I’m here today to tell you that I’ve truly been convicted of that lately, and it’s not the mindset to have when pursuing God’s purposes for my life. It’s not the mentality we should have when desiring to follow Jesus and do whatever it is He asks of us. And above all, it’s never the place to be at if you’re wanting to serve others and to witness to others in sharing the Gospel. Take a minute and think about what God has blessed you with in your life. Look at your mental capacity. Your physical gifts. Your spiritual disciplines. Your emotions. Are these areas of your life being poured out and exercised every single day of your life in ways that demonstrate God’s Kingdom at work in your life? Are these areas of your life allowing you to stay true to God’s purposes for your life and honoring a Christ-like walk of faith that displays to the world a genuine, true Christian lifestyle?

What I’m getting at today is, in everything we do and say, in how we carry ourselves out there in the world, and in the many different ways we interact with the surrounding culture, we must never forget that we are not our own. Romans 13: 7-8 tells us “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords”. In everything we do and in everything we are and could ever be: we belong to God. This means that we must constantly be pursuing God’s righteousness, always asking God for more opportunities to serve and witness to people and for His presence in our lives daily. As long we profess a faith in God, and we believe in what Christ did for us on the Cross, there will never be a day that goes by that we won’t forever belong to God; purchased by the blood of His Son. This realization Must change the way we live our lives.

You might ask “Well what does this all mean for me, then?” It means that we are responsible for each other. We have a duty and an obligation to disciple those around us. We can't life this life focusing and honing in on our own desires and our individual spiritual walk. We have to take care of and look out for each other. One of the most beautiful rewards of the Christian faith in action is having the opportunity to serve your fellow brother or sister in a time of need; to know that God has given you a chance to walk alongside a believer and encourage them as they, just like you, chase after Christ. If you re-read my beginning paragraph of this blog post you’ll see that I described for you the types of things that have held me back from faithfully living out God’s purpose for my life and appropriately serving others who I have known have needed help. The theme of my struggles was centered on my pathetic effort in trusting God with the issue, learning how to stop being a slave to it and just let it all go, and how problems like that affect the way I interact and talk with people every day. What I want you to take away from this is that things such as laziness, turning away from God, being consumed by personal problems, and even a lack of spirituality can and will affect the way we serve and witness to people. When we reach that point where our biggest desire is to serve God's Kingdom, it will also be the point in which God will require us to let go of the most "stuff". This is a time-less truth I've have to re-discover over and over again in my life. And it’s not easy just so you know. It’s not supposed to be. But Jesus addresses this problem we have with worldly cares, feverish anxieties, and keeping things stored up inside. He tells us in Luke 12: 25-26 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” The message behind these verses is that some things we just have to simply let God release us from. When we witness to others, and when we’re serving others, we can’t be holding on to fears and worries and things we’re choosing to keep hidden inside. We can't give off the impression that we're losing our minds and that the problems of the world are drowning us in a sea of misery. When you're serving someone you are put in a position where You're helping provide the comfort and peace to their specific situation. When God uses each one of us to serve and to witness to each other, both believers and non-believers alike, He's not envisioning a human race of wild chickens running around in crazy pandemonium with their heads cut off. He has each one of us in a servant role so that we can all grow together on the same playing field and suffer together on the same playing field. That means that there has to be those few who dare to stand out amidst the firey chaos and lead. And even those that make a stand are on the same level as those that are in need of help. We are not greater than each other. All of us, no matter how rich or how poor, how strong or how weak, how much of a leader or how much of a follower, will always be lowly humble servants to God.

Let's take a look at anxiety for a minute. We can’t be anxious about what’s going on in our lives. Now, we can be concerned about certain things. I mean I’m all for that. In fact, I’m a firm believer in the fact that there are specific things in life that require our constant attentive care and focus. But these things should never be elevated to the extent that they consume us completely; that they control and dictate how we interact, how we view the way God is working in our lives, how we pursue God’s call for us, and even how we view each other. As I said earlier, we are responsible for each other. And when we exercise to the fullest potential all of our mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional strength in living for God and for His purposes in our lives, we must also realize that we are called to do the same for each other. We are each other’s keeper. We must always be on the lookout for the well-being and safety of each other. When one of us grows and thrives in God’s grace and power, we all do. When one of us is suffering and going through a difficult time of darkness, we all are suffering through it together. The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-13 that “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body…” With this in mind my prayer is that we all can grow in the righteousness of Christ together. That we all can let go of burdensome things plaguing our hearts and minds, humbly serve one another in everything we do, and follow Christ together. That we can interact with one another, believers and unbelievers alike, in a manner that glorifies God and exercises the full potential of our faith. Anything God calls us to do or has planned for us to do will probably never be easy. But none of us, as brothers and sisters in Christ, are ever alone out there in this world. Out of everything we’re called to be as a Christian, out of all the many things God will ask of us in this life, we will always be called to serve one another. It might not always look beautiful to serve this dirty, sinful, rebellious world. But it's what we're supposed to do. Because in the end it will not be the service of each other that was the main focus, it will have been our willingness to devote ourselves as servants of God’s glory that will have made all the difference. We all have this obligation. We all have this duty. We are responsible for each other. God bless you all.

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