Sunday, December 24, 2023
Christ-Like Priorities, a 365 Day Consideration
Christ-Like Priorities, a 365 Day Consideration
by David Brenneman
"But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality— at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; as it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.” 2 Corinthians 8:7-15.
I am not normally given to redirected links to those outside of Zondervan for posting the Scriptures but this story at the end of this post links to the Biblical perspective so well. I have seen it many times on Facebook and it's a very strong lesson in perspectives we miss in our living life.
King David and King Solomon both wrote much about life. About how people were in their lives. Both, in their own way, poured out their hearts.
King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes of the futility of the pursuits of the heart in this life that are not in accordance with what the Spirit says are important. We are no different than those who lived hundreds of years ago, thousands of years ago or tens of thousands of years ago. God the Spirit wrote of there being nothing new under the sun. Nothing. There's no new ideas that have not been before. There are no new desires of the heart that haven't been experienced. No losses that have are unique to any one individual. No joys that are singular in nature.
In this particular Holiday time, of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, it ought to be a time to renew our commitment to His priorities and our purpose for being here. This story that is linked at the end of the post was written a long time ago and is timeless in its revealing of a heart. Selfishness and idolatry are among the #1 things on the list of sinful practices of a life not lived as Christ intended for the Believer. We don't even consider reviewing what we've allowed into our hearts that the Bible says are selfish or idolatrous. We don't seek out compassion for others willingly because it conflicts with our selfish desires.
Christ-like behavior is what the Disciples learned and were to teach others. Christ-like priorities are what future Believers were to be taught from generation to generation until Christ returns.
This Christmas, consider other indeed as more important than yourselves...for this too is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4.
The "But God!"'s usually start right away.
When you give and receive a day from now for most of you, remember to think about that passage. Remember the story you will read in a little while. Jesus wants us to love God and love others. There's zero selfishness involved in that statement.
Our perception on joy is skewed because of selfishness. Our peace of mind is skewed because of selfishness. Our protection of ourselves is skewed because of selfishness. When we put on the love of Christ Jesus towards others, those things just don't seem to matter as much, don't mean the same, do they?
So whether you get what you wanted or you don't. Do so with a grateful heart.
You are not to put off the new self that is in Christ Jesus. We're to put off the old self and it's practices. We're to be Christ to all, to those who are Believer's and to those who aren't. Jesus died once for all. Including those who warmly embrace His free gift of salvation, receiving it as their own as well as all the Genghis Khan's, the Hitler's, Judas's, even the Antichrist who is the center of the book of Revelation that's not been on the world stage yet.
Jesus came, born of a virgin, born under the Law, to seek and save the lost. He gave everything to the obedience of God the Father’s wishes.
Look at your life today, look at this last year. Would you be described as a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ? Would the bulk of what's described about your life be for all you did for Jesus or would it be about a bunch of things that don't mean anything in light of eternity?
Today is the day before we celebrate unlike most any other day of the year.
My Dear Reader, Christmas begins in your heart, not your wallet. Be who you were meant to be in Christ Jesus and you will change the world. What greater gift, outside of the free gift of salvation, can be given to anyone
All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.