Grab the brass ring
Reach for the stars
Look out for number one
You deserve it
All these commonly heard phrases and many more just like them emphasize the success-oriented, self-centered nature of our culture. We are encouraged to “get ahead” and to not let anyone keep us down. If we want to make a name for ourselves we must be first, be the best, and do it all before the other guy does. If you do, then the sky is the limit!
But the world’s wisdom usually runs contrary to God’s wisdom. In fact, God’s wisdom reveals that the world’s wisdom is really foolishness (1 Cor 18:20).
Worldly wisdom even affected Jesus’ followers. Remember when the mother of the “Sons of Thunder” (James and John) asked Jesus to give her boys places of honor when He came into His Kingdom? Here was Jesus’ response:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first 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 20:25-28, NIV
If any person that ever lived deserved to be first, had the right to be served, then it was Jesus, God in human flesh. But He lived a life of service and sacrifice. And He calls us to follow His example!
To be the kind of Christian God calls me to be – to truly succeed at this life of faith – I must reach low, not for the stars. I must humbly serve others and put their needs before my own. I must seek to love, encourage, and build up my fellow believer. That’s a tough order for this weak, selfish woman.
But here’s the good news: I have God’s Spirit living within me. As I yield myself to His authority and direction He continues to work on my character, exhibiting His attributes in my life. His love, His kindness, His goodness, His self-control.
So, I’m striving to reach low. Because He deserves it.
How are you “reaching low” for Christ?
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Reaching for the stars is exhausting, isn’t it? Following Christ’s advice is much better. When we humble ourselves before the Lord and serve Him and others, He is glorified rather than us. And that is as it should be! Sometimes (more than sometimes) I don’t feel that I do enough, that my heart is selfish and weak. I am so far from perfect. But I pray that in all I do and think, I please Him — even and especially when, I confess my weakness to Him. I am so thankful that He is continually working on my character. I am no longer who I was…not even who I was yesterday…or even a few minutes ago. Each day I am one more day closer to being the woman He created me to be…and as I move forward, I pray for His strength to let go of myself and to humbly serve others.