Greetings Everyone. At long last, I’m finally in a place where I’m able to resume the Living An Others-First Kind of Life series we started what seems like a long time ago. I am sorry that it’s taken so long to get back to it. I believe since the last message I’ve managed to completely recover from my hernia surgery, and we had a few weeks where I had to pay closer attention to Elisabeth because she wasn’t feeling to well. We only got through the first message of the series before I had to take a break to take care of myself, and my daughter. Turns out it was most likely seasonal allergies that had been giving Elisabeth so much trouble, and she’s still teething as well. So, as I’ve said before the only two things that will cause me to take a break are the Lord and Elisabeth. She needed more of my attention, and so that’s why it’s taken so long to get back to this series.
I believe that we have a pretty good idea where the Holy Ghost is wanting to go.
Praise & Worship:
With a message like this it was important to find a song that reminds us just like the title of the message that living an others-first kind of life isn’t something that comes naturally to any of us, but it comes supernaturally. I have had this song on my heart, and I knew that it was supposed to be a part of this series, and it’s another song by the Sidewalk Prophets. This song reminds us that Jesus was the One to model for us that others-first kind of life, and I don’t know about you…but this song has become a silent prayer of my heart: “Show Me How To Love”…
Others First Is Supernatural:
As I just mentioned, how many of you know that being selfish and self-serving is the natural desire of our flesh? That means that living a life where we put others needs before the needs of our own is something that we need the Lord to show us how to do. One of the things I’ve learned in the nearly 18 months that I’ve been a stay at home parent is how much self I had in me that was still needing to die so that God could use me. It’s funny how much having a child will show you about the things inside of you that God’s been trying to deal with you on, and trying to get you to lay down because they’re hindering your relationship and usefulness to Him. So, let’s get into today’s message, and see what the Lord is wanting to say today, Amen!?!
Have you ever watched a small child play with their toys? Have you ever tried to play with that kid’s toys? What typically happens? They see you playing with their toy, run up to you, snatch the toy out of your hand, and yell, “MINE!”
You know what!?! Elisabeth can’t say “mine”, but there are definitely times when she doesn’t want to share. In fact, if I manage to wrestle away what she’s fussing about some times she’ll either cry or get even angrier. One of the reasons we’re looking forward to getting her into daycare is so that she will learn to play with other kids…and she will also learn to share. Isn’t it interesting that we have to be TAUGHT to share and to put others before ourselves? That’s because our flesh is selfish in nature to begin with, and it’s a natural, fleshly desire to prefer ourselves over someone else. In other words, being selfish isn’t something we have to work it…it’s something that comes naturally to us. Therefore, it’s with great confidence I write tonight that living that others-first kind of life…that requires grace…and the kind of grace that only comes from leaning upon the Lord to teach us and…well…show us how to love and serve with a right heart and spirit (Psalm 51:10). For those that think I’m wrong…I’d like to encourage those of you that have children to try taking a toy they’re playing with away from them, and see how angry they get at you. LOL.
The reality is you were that little kid at one point. We all were. We were born selfish, wanting what’s ours and as we get older that doesn’t necessarily change.
I’m going to say something here that may surprise you, but did you know that this ministry requires me to constantly lay my selfish desires down for the Lord’s? I have to admit to you that there are times when I honestly don’t want to write knowing that God wants me to. This afternoon is a perfect example. I know God wants me to get this message written and posted because He’s made sure my schedule was cleared so that I could. I wanted to be playing softball this evening, but an afternoon thunderstorm made sure that didn’t happen. As a result, instead of playing softball I’m here to hopefully finish up this message, get it proof-read, and finally posted.
I’ll give you another example. For quite a while I like everyone else had their favorite prime time television shows, like most men I love to watch sports, and there was a period of time that I made sure if I wasn’t going to catch a particular show that I had the DVR ready in case I missed it. Then came the reality that for quite a while we weren’t going to be able to afford to pay the DISH bill, and we were introduced to Netflix and Hulu which also will shut off if you are late with payments. Do you know what that did for me, however? It opened my eyes to see how much of a god television had become, and it got me so out of sync with my shows and sports and everything else that it took away the importance of those things. Suddenly missing a show doesn’t really matter to me anymore, and in reality those shows really weren’t good for my spirit to be watching anyways. I mentioned this before, but the attractions of the world are becoming less and less attractive to me. In fact, just today I deleted an iPhone game that was taking up too much of my time, and I haven’t even thought about it until now as I’m giving examples of how much of self is still in me that needs to be crucified…and it’s on a daily basis. That’s right. It’s a daily battle. Let’s move on.
Living a selfless life doesn’t come naturally; it comes supernaturally. It comes from God. We should experience God’s love in such a real way that it motivates us and moves us to love others in the same way.
One of the things God spoke to me when Elisabeth was born was about adjusting my priorities, and it’s taken a while for me to notice just how much differently my priorities are today then when God spoke that to me. Of course, being a stay at home parent has helped me to make those adjustments, but what it all boils down to is God has been doing this supernatural work in my heart that we’re talking about in this series and message. Today, if there’s a message God wants me to write it’s more important to me than anything that I get that message written, and posted. The truth is He knows exactly who needs what I’m writing and why they need it. So, while there might be a show I want to watch on television what God wants is more important to me…the only thing I will put my writing on hold for these days is my daughter and when the Lord wants me to take a break.
It’s the same with my daughter. I haven’t really even had the desire to write lately, and the only reason I have it now is because she seems to be doing and feeling better. My biggest priorities today are God, family, others, and finally myself. There’s a popular thing “I Am Second” going around today, and I understand the idea behind it…but I’m not even prideful enough to have myself as the second most important thing to me than God. God is even dealing with me about being and getting more involved in my community.
I’m far from being a perfectly selfless person. I am getting better, however. God’s theme for me for this year was “I must decrease so He can increase”…and here I am a few months later writing an entire series about laying our lives down to live an others-first kind of life. This just confirms to me what God was speaking to me about what He wants from me this year, and what He wants is for more of me to die so that more of Him can shine through. He doesn’t just want that from me, however. He wants that from all of His children, and those who serve and call Him Lord. He wants us all to understand that being self-serving is not being God-serving.
Listen, God has really been speaking to me lately about making sure that everything we do we do for His glory…not our glory or so that everyone else can see what wonderful people we are. No…we’re to do everything we do to bring Him glory…and when we serve others without wondering what’s in it for us…that’s one of the ways that we can make sure we are doing what we do for Him and not our own selfish gains.
Let’s close with this final thought…
We can’t live an others first kind of life on our own. We need to get it from God and allow Him to change us from the inside, which produces outward action.
Heavenly Father, more and more I come to understand what the Lord Jesus meant when He said that He is one with the Father and prayed that His disciples, may be one. I see that love is a precious union of heart and a sweet communion of spirit.. and just as the Father and Son emanate the same powerful love – so we too are to have that same beautiful love developing in us, by the power of the Spirit. Lord I pray that the body of Christ may become united as one, and abound in the unity of the spirit more and more, in love – not compromising truth but showing a genuine concern for one another. I pray that individually and collectively we may live godly lives in Christ Jesus and seek to encourage and edify one another.. seeking to be of the same mind and having the same godly love for each another. I pray that we may be united in spirit and in purpose, and that we do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit.. but rather with humility of mind regard the needs of the other as more important than our own. In Jesus name. Amen.
Like I did with the last message there’s one final thought that I believe is a good thing for us to do throughout the rest of this week. The ironic thing is that we will be celebrating Memorial Day. Many will be gathering with family or friends or both to have BBQ’s and party and all kinds of other fun stuff. For me, Memorial Day has always kind of been the official kick off the summer party, but it’s more than that really. I want us to remember that there are men and women that really lived an others-first kind of life, and it lead them to their death. Many others who are still living today paved the way for guys like me to come along later to understand that Memorial Day isn’t just a big summer kick off party, but a day to remember and give thanks for those that are serving or have served. It’s also a day to remember the One that was the ultimate example of what an others-first kind of life looks like, and I think it’s also worth noting that even though He was God in the flesh…He still needed the Holy Ghost to give Him the supernatural ability to live that others-first kind of life He was modeling for all of us to read about.
So, in closing tonight I want to add this final thought, and give you something to do, meditate upon, and then incorporate into your prayer time. That final thought is this one, and I promise with this I will close, get this proofread…and posted.
Pray that you will understand and experience God’s love in such a real way that it causes you to love others in the same way.
How many of you will pray for this understanding and experience of God’s love so that we can love and serve others this very same way? How many of you know like we talked about in the message that we have to have God’s help to do that!?! So, ask Him for help. Amen!?!
Well, friends…we finally have the second of six messages of this series written, proofread, and posted. I hope that y’all have a fantastic work week. I hope that you’ll be safe and careful over Memorial Day weekend, and I really hope y’all will be back here with me next week as we get into message number 3. The next message in this series will be titled: “Others First in All Life Brings”.
Have a blessed and relaxing evening!
Blessings & Grace;
Bryan Kizer – Pastor
Christlike Ministries NWA