IT’S NOT ABOUT ME!

July 15, 2018

 Galatians 2:20,  “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

 

Galatians 2:20 (MSG), “I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not mine, but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

1 Corinthians 6:19,20 (NLT), “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

When I was the National Director of Prayer at Promise Keepers Men’s Ministry, one of my duties was challenging the hundreds of volunteers every week at each arena event. The one message I used frequently to challenge them was, “It’s not about me.” It’s about service to the Lord and to others. You see, I am sixth: 1. God, 2. Wife, 3. Children, 4. Church, 5. World, 6. Me.

Several years ago a lady visited our church for several Sundays that had a problem with body odor. Some of our congregation snubbed her, not wanting to sit near her because of her problem. Some of our ladies bought her a new coat, and tried to help with her problem. Several of our church officers actually came to me and asked me to tell her she was not allowed to attend anymore, this I would not do! My response to them was, “If our church was the kind of New Testament Church Jesus loves, it would be filled with less than desirable people.”

Once, I baptized (immersed) several children who had come on our church bus from a low income housing project. One of our ladies came to me and said. “I could smell them from where I was sitting.” I didn’t say it, but I thought, “Lady, God can smell you from where He is sitting!”

One Sunday, Bill, a college student, who had become a Christian while attending college, arrived at a well-groomed, very conservative, church near the campus. This church had been trying to develop a ministry to students, but were not sure of how to go about it. Well, Bill wasn’t your typical attendee at this uptown church. He had wild hair, wore a tee-shirt with holes in it, patched jeans and no shoes. That was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He was brilliant, kind of esoteric and very intelligent. He walked in, totally conspicuous with his bare feet, blue jeans, tee shirt and wild hair. The service had already begun, so Bill started down the aisle looking for a seat. The church was completely full, so he couldn’t find a seat. The people were beginning to look a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything.

 

Bill continued down the aisle, getting  closer and closer to the pulpit, then when he realizes there were no seats, he just sat down on the carpet right in front of the pulpit. Although perfectly acceptable at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened at this church.

 

By now the people were really getting up-tight, the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. About this time, an elderly deacon was slowly making his way toward Bill. This deacon, in his eighties, had silver hair, a three piece suit and a pocket watch. He was a godly man, very elegant, dignified and very courtly. He walked with a cane and as he started walking toward Bill, everyone was saying to themselves, “You can't blame him for what he’s going to do. How can you expect a man of his background and culture to understand some college kid sitting on the floor?” It took a long time for him to reach Bill. The church was utterly silent, except for the clicking of the old deacon's cane. All eyes were focused on him. You couldn’t even detect that people were breathing. They were thinking, “The minister can't preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do!” Then they saw this old man drop his cane on the floor, and with great difficulty lower himself and sat down beside Bill, took off his shoes and socks, and worshiped with him so he wouldn’t be alone. Everyone choked up with emotion. When the minister gained control he said, “What I'm about to preach you will not remember. What you have seen today you will never forget. (Copied, author unknown) That old deacon knew it was not about him!

 

James 2:1-5 (NLT), “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes.  If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, ‘You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor’—well,  doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?”

It’s not about me!

Get rid all expressions “I like,” “I don’t like,” “My opinion is,” “I think,” “Why don’t they?” “We’ve never done it this way before.” “I don’t like the music.” “I don’t like the preaching.” “I don’t like the way they run things around here.” “I don’t like the youth ministry.” “I don’t like the children’s ministry. “The sanctuary is too hot…too cold.” It’s time we stopped asking, “How does this effect me?” and start asking, “How does this effect others?” “What can I do to reach out to others?” Always remember, JOY is spelled, “Jesus, Others, and You!”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG), “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whomever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”

1 Peter 4:10,11 (NLT), “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”

Galatians 5:13,14 (NLT), “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s not about me!

1 Corinthians 10:24, “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.”

The disciples in the upper room were arguing about which of them would be the greatest in the kingdom, “Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest. But Jesus intervened: ‘Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant’” (Luke 22:24-26 MSG).

Philippines 5:21 “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.”

The Christian life is about service. Service to God, family, country, church and others!

 

1 Peter 4:1,2 (MSG). “Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”

The “One Another’s” of the New Testament.

•”Wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).

•”Love one another” (John 13:34. 35; 5:12,17).

       •”Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10).

•”Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).

•”Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:16).

•”Love one another” (Romans 13:8).

•”Stop passing judgment on one another” (Romans 14:13).

•”Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:7).

•”Instruct one another” (Romans 15:14).

•”Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16; I Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13;12).

•”When you come together to eat, wait for each other” (1 Corinthians  11:33).

•”Have equal concern for each other” (1 Corinthians 12:25).

       •”Serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

•”Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” (Galatians 5:26).

•”Carry each other’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2).

•”Be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

•”Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Ephesians 4:32).

•”Forgiving each other” (Ephesians 4:32).

•”Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs”   (Ephesians 5:19).

•”Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).

•”In humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

The Christian life is about obedience. Without obedience there is no real Christianity! Many people try to follow Christ but find that the discipline is too difficult.

John 6:64-69, NLT, “But some of you do not believe Me. (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and He knew who would betray Him.) Then He said, ‘That is why I said that people can’t come to Me unless the Father gives them to Me.’ At this point many of His disciples turned away and deserted Him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, ‘Are you also going to leave?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know You are the Holy One of God.’”

The Christian life is about obedience to God, His Word, His call, His vision, and His purpose for our lives.

Proverbs 19:21 (NLT), “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT), “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Consider some familiar Bible characters who teach us, “It’s not about me,” it’s all about God!

God said to Abraham, “GO!” God did not tell him where to go but, trusting God, he set out from his home in Ur, and wandered and wondered where he was supposed to go. Then his father died. Only then did God begin to direct him. Allow me moment to sermonize here. Once a person trusts Christ they now have a new nature. But the old nature doesn’t go away (when the Spirit moved in the devil moved out but he didn’t move away). The old nature will not leave until the believer goes to heaven. When I became a believer in Christ, the old nature (old man) in me was disabled, and I am still plagued by the old man. Only when we defeat the old nature can God lead us into the perfect plan for our lives.  Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT), “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

So, finally, Abraham said, “It’s not about me,” and God led him to where He wanted him and blessed him richly for the rest of his life.

God said to Moses, “GO!” Moses said “It’s not about me.” So he led the people out of Egyptian bondage, and through the wilderness for forty years, then He led them into the promised land.

God said to Gideon, GO in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel…” ( Judges 6:14).  Gideon said, “Who me?” Then after a series of tests of wet fleece, and dry fleece. Gideon conquered his fears. “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12). Finally Gideon said, “It’s not about me!” Gideon’s three-hundred men and God won a great victory.

 

God said to Jonah, “Arise, GO to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it” (Jonah 1:2). After he ran in the wrong direction, running from God’s call, he ended up in the gastric juices of a great fish. After three days and three nights he said, okay, Lord, “It’s not about me!” He finally got to Nineveh, brought God’s message, and an entire city was converted.

God said to Isaiah, “GO!” Isaiah said, “It’s not about me.” Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

God said to Elijah, “GO” to King Ahab, that vile toad that is squatting on the throne of Israel. Elijah said, “It’s not about me!” Elijah was a student of the Word of God; he was a man of prayer; a man of daring; a man of courage; a man with zeal; a man who simply believed God! God always has a man to match the need of the hour if he is willing to say, “It’s not about me!” It’s all about God!

 

God said to Paul, “GO!” “It was necessary that the Word of God should be spoken to you (the Jew) first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:46.47). Paul says, “It’s not about me!” God said, “I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me” (Acts 26:17,18 NLT). Humanly speaking we Gentile believers are in God’s family because of Paul.

When I consider that little phrase, “It’s not about me” I have to remember where Jesus brought me from to where I am today. I am not what I thought I would be! I am not what I want to be! I am not what I’m going to be! But thank God I’m not what I used to be! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Father, Where Shall I Work Today?

Father, where shall I work today? And my love flowed warm and free.

Then He pointed out a tiny spot and said, “Tend that for me.”

I answered quickly, “Oh no; not that! Why, no one would ever see,

No matter how well my work was done; not that little place for me.”

And the word He spoke, it was not stern; He answered me tenderly:

“Ah, little one, search that heart of thine.

Art thou working for them or for me?

Nazareth was a little place, and so was Galilee.”

–Author unknown–

Unless otherwise noted the New Ling James Version (NKJV) of the Bible was used, also, The New Living Translation (NLT(, and The Message (MSG).

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