The last four posts have centered on habits that will help Christians more effectively serve their Lord, the church, and the lost. We learned first to be responsible by taking even the smallest job seriously. Second, we learned to be honorable, maintaining our integrity even in the face of abuse. Third, we learned to be a servant, aggressively pursuing opportunities to be a blessing to others. Fourth, we learned to be selfless, genuinely caring for the needs of others with no thanks or praise required. This final post considers that the process of continuing to be effective for the Lord is not easy, and that being a Christian beyond the building requires our stubborn dedication to God.
This is the fourth in a series of five posts designed to suggest habits that will help us take our Christianity beyond the building effectively.
The book of Philippians was written with the goal of encouraging a selfless attitude among Christians, an attitude which existed first in our Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:3-8 summarizes the attitude of Christ as it was displayed through His actions. He was equal to God, but let go of that status to live as a human being. Because of His human position, He submitted Himself to God’s will and obeyed God by offering Himself as the sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. The attitude and mind of Christ was completely selfless, totally centered on the good He could do for others without any concern for Himself. Christians will be even more effective servants for Christ if they leave behind the need for thanks and praise from men.
This is the third in a series of five posts designed to suggest habits that will help us take our Christianity beyond the building to reach the lost.
In Luke 16, Jesus taught a parable about an unrighteous steward. His manner of stewardship was not good, in fact we are told that he was going to be fired for his poor performance (Luke 16:1-2). The steward had a short time to make preparations for his life prior to losing his position. Jesus likens that steward to us in that we have a short time to make preparations for eternity (Luke 16:9). We have a limited number of opportunities to be a blessing to others in our life on earth, and effective Christians will take advantage of those opportunities for the sake of their own soul and to save the souls of the lost.
Your life is made of the choices you make. Every moment and every decision helps to shape your character and your habits. Effective Christians are determined to make choices that will make them more and more useful to the Lord. Paul said it this way in Philippians 3:14:
“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Effective Christians are not satisfied with their current progress in godliness. This is the second in a series of five posts designed to provide habits which will help Christians extend their Christlike qualities beyond the church building and into their life every day.
In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul wrote about the importance of examining your life to be sure no roadblocks are standing in the path of the gospel. He changed his lifestyle and habits to be acceptable to the people around him so that they would listen when he spoke to them about the gospel of Christ. Verses 22 and 23 summarize the priorities which directed his life:
“I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.”
His salvation and the salvation of the people around him were Paul’s priorities. He was not always well received, but if some were saved by the gospel then whatever pain or difficulties Paul faced were of no concern (Rom. 8:18).
Eli Schnell is the Youth and Family Minister at the Northwest Church of Christ
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135