Selflessness in Philippians 2:3-5

Being selfish is something that I have struggled with a lot. The further I got away from God and the bible, the more selfish I became. For me, this was very prevalent while I was in college. Gearing up for marriage and being married has taught me a lot about being selfless, about having humility, and about putting someone else above your own wants and desires. I’m sure if you ask my wife, I still have a long way to go with this, but I have certainly improved over the years.

Reading through the first half of Philippians 2 can be pretty difficult for selfish people. It calls us to:

Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves.”

I can think of more than a few people in my past that I have demanded apologies from. They were wrong, right? Am I really supposed to turn the other cheek? (Matthew 5:39) Wouldn’t that put my stamp of approval on their actions?

Was Jesus really putting his stamp of approval on the actions of everyone that gave false testimonies against him that eventually led to him being sent to the cross? No, he embodied the demeanor and actions of a servant and let them take his life. Why would God do that?

It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around what God is calling us to do. I found myself reading these verses over and over again, trying to make sense of the verses and apply them to my life. And what it has come down to (for me), is acting like a servant. And if anyone knows me, they know I struggle with taking direction. I’ve got to be behind the idea, I normally have to make sense of it in my head before I get on board with helping out. But that’s the last thing I want when I’m leading the charge. I want people who trust me and are committed to supporting me and the decisions that I make. I want people who will give 110% of themselves to make the operation a success.

So, why would I refrain from doing the same for someone else’s objective? Because I’m selfish: plain and simple. I want some credit for everything I invest and all of the effort I put in. Why would I do it for anything else? And the answer that I should be thinking is: because God calls us to embody the very nature of a servant – just like Jesus did his entire life. It says this later on in Philippians 2.

Philippians 2: 6-8 “Who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

Even though Jesus was the biggest “deal” that this earth would ever see, he acted like he was nothing. He acted like everyone was better than he was. There was no one unworthy of his presence, his love, or his talent. He willingly gave up everything.

God,

Help me to be more selfless and more servant-like. Help me to think less of myself and to be more humble. God, give me the attitude, demeanor, and mind of a servant. Help me to be more like-minded with the Spirit. Help me to give of myself more frequently and to hold back nothing out of selfish ambition or vein conceit when people ask me for help. Refill me with a supernatural energy and attitude that makes me the best servant, follower, and helper. Remind me through your holy Spirit of these verses continually. Refresh and renew my mind to think on these things. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen.

 

Unemployment and Philippians

Yesterday, I was driving down the street listening to the radio and I caught myself jamming out to some pop music. I can’t remember what song it was, but I know that Jesus probably wouldn’t have had it as one of his presets; let’s just say that. I sat there and thought to myself, am I no longer allowed to listen to this music? It was a jarring realization for me, because I truly have to walk the walk now.

There are plenty of times in life that I find myself not acting like a Christian. For example, there are people from my old job that might watch this video and say, “What?? Mark certainly didn’t act like a Christian at work.” Granted, I wasn’t going around the office thumping people with bibles all day long, but I certainly wasn’t Jesus reincarnated on this earth. You know what I’m saying?

Yesterday, after I published my first “Jesus” video on my channel I felt great. I felt like I was starting to move in the way that God wanted me to move. It was enlightening and awesome. But I still yearn to develop that relationship with God where He is at the center of everything I do. I want to be in communication with Him all day long. That’s where I want to be with this move. I want to be best friends with Jesus, and spending time with Him every day in the morning is where it starts. Not seeing an end to where I’m spending time with Him is the goal.

Today I was reading in Philippians 1:27. It says:

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…”

Paul later goes on to explain that whether he experiences them in person, or wether he hears about it through the grapevine, he wants to see the people of Philippi living the life God intended them to live. A life “…worthy of the gospel of Christ.” That’s the challenge for all of us. It’s wrapped around our integrity. It’s easy to put up a facade when the time is appropriate, but to live after God’s own heart every waking minute of your life is the true challenge.

God, help me to seek you more intimately. Remind me throughout every moment of the day to live a life worthy of your gospel. Speak to my Spirit and strengthen Him. Allow my mind to be attentive to the still small voice calling me to live more righteously. In Jesus’ name I pray.

Amen.

God’s Will And My Pursuit Of It

Matthew 7:21 has really been sitting on my heart all summer. In a roundabout way, it’s kind of the reason why we’re uprooting our entire lives to move to Australia. It says:

“Not everyone who says to me , ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”

This verse evoked in me a healthy fear of the Lord. It also made me ask myself, “What’s the point of doing anything but the will of God?” I was reading in Luke this morning with Kassi, and we read a verse that was really similar to this one. It read: (Luke 13:24)

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’.”

Kassi’s reaction was, “Well then how do we find God’s will?” And my best answer was, “Doing this.” (We were studying the bible together) It’s about pursuing Him. It’s about spending time with Him and developing a relationship with Him. It’s about making every effort to better understand Him and His ways. It says in Romans 12:2

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We have to renew our minds with the Word of God. We have to make every effort to understand Him better, then we will be able to test and approve of His will for our lives.

So, this move to Australia is an effort to spend more time with God, to know Him better so that we can better understand His will for our lives.

Big Changes Start Now

I put in my two weeks at work a week ago so that Kassi and I could embark on a new chapter, which sounds cheesy, but it’s true. We are moving to Australia! We’ll be working over there for 6 months (ideally) and traveling for two additional months, which puts us back in Reno by June of 2018. And that’s when we’ll move into our house and start the rest of our lives!

Unless God has other plans. Proverbs 16:9 says “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” So that’s our plan, but now it’s up to God to determine our steps. God has placed it upon my heart to put him first, which He does for all of us as the first of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), and again in the new testament with the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37), but He’s done it in a way that has been more impactful for me.

I’ve felt for a long time that God has something big planned for my life, like He’s been preparing me for a very specific purpose. And I think it has something to do with sharing my testimony and my walk with Him online, but I have to be prepared for anything. God wants to reveal something to me, but it’s going to take a lot of work on my behalf to prepare my heart for what He has to say. I’ve felt that I have to give up everything to prepare my heart (my soil) for the seed He’s going to plant within me. And for some reason He’s given me and Kassi this crazy idea to move to Australia. I think that God wants me to capitalize on this time to put Him first. He wants me to use this time away from work, from family, from friends, and from other distractions, to start living out what God has been placing on my heart.

So I woke up this morning, my first day of unemployment (because my job let me go a week early), with a plan. I am going to read the bible, write a blog, film a video, edit the video, and then begin my day. I don’t care how long it takes, but I am going to start seeking God and sharing my experience the best way I know possible. So here’s to day 1!

God,

I pray for diligence and an unrelenting heart to seek you more and more every day. I pray that you use Kassi and myself in a powerful way while we’re in Australia. I pray that you strengthen our marriage, that you strengthen my walk and my wife’s walk with you. I pray that you speak to us in a clear and powerful way and that we have ears that will be receptive to your voice. Amen.