“Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24).
Pastor Mark Dever gave one overview sermon to his congregation in Washington, DC for each book of the Bible. His New Testament sermons are reprinted in The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept. 1 Dever’s sermon on 1 Corinthians inspired me to write this post.
If only our Christian lives could be built up as easily as the house getting framed in the picture!
There must be some obstacle preventing that. Is it the fault of what other people do to us, those who do not appreciate us? That may be partly true, but today let’s look at what we might be responsible for. What obstacles in us make it hard for us to grow in becoming a dwelling place for God? Here are two scenarios:
- We like to feel that we are anointed and talented and can be used by God. We can even legitimately enjoy it when someone recognizes that God is at work in us. But do we think we deserve such recognition? How do we feel when we don’t get it? Rejected, upset?
- We feel that our pet ministry is especially important to the well-being of our church. And as we talk to others, we always let them know just how vitally important this ministry is. We imply that, if they really loved Jesus, they would be a part of that ministry too!
Neither of these scenarios helps us to build up other people. Yet they both are such easy traps to fall into. How can we avoid those traps?
It helps to learn to be secure in who we simply are in Christ. Each of us can say: I have been redeemed by Christ, I am a new creation, and I am loved by Christ, such that nothing I can do can earn me more love. Out of that security in our identity in Christ, springs true edifying Christian action. How very different from thinking I need to prove that I am worth something to Christ and his Church!
As I simply love Jesus, I become willing to quietly give myself in love for others, without concern that I’m right or get recognition or need to have someone join my team.
Ironically, if I don’t feel I deserve to be complimented, I end up receiving godly affirmation. And instead of shaming people into joining my ministry, my attitude of love is infectious and contagious and draws others to join in as they see that yes, the Lord is at work in this ministry.
I’ll never forget a memorial service for a certain man who did not have a prominent and public role in our church. He was someone who never sought the limelight or pushed himself forward. But – at the service, many testified at the quiet impact for Christ that he had on their lives. He was a true blessing to others. Those testimonies together were like a chorus of angels singing his praise. Isn’t that what happens when we enjoy seeking the good of others?