“Freedom is found in a life of sacrificial service to others.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 7, 2023
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV
By nature, we live for ourselves. Our people. Our places. Our passions. This is one of the most indisputable truths of human existence. As such, when Christianity is presented as a form of self-improvement and betterment, as though it’s a new skincare routine for the soul, our ears perk up! Yet as anyone who has tried on this “brand” of faith can attest, rather than transforming your life and setting you free, it only deepens your bondage to self.
For the Christian, freedom is found in a life of sacrificial service to others. Again, this is not something we stumble into or pick up along the way. As Paul reminds us today in 2 Corinthians 5, it requires a severing from our old way of life – no longer living for ourselves – and a radical embrace of the way of Christ, which is nothing less than a willingness to die in order to be raised again.
Since “living for ourselves” is so deeply hardwired into the core of our beings, don’t be certain that you’ve found freedom from this illness, even if you’ve walked with Christ for a long time! Self-love loves to avoid detection, lurking in the corners and manifesting itself in new and surprising ways. For this reason, one of the best bits of practical wisdom that I can offer you today is this: invite feedback into your life from others.
Whether you are young or old, male or female, single or married, you are meant to live life in community. Yes, this is for fellowship and mutual joy, yet it is also for mutual encouragement and loving correction. It may be a spouse, sibling, or old friend, but intentionally cultivate relationships that draw you out of yourself, help you see where you are enslaved to your own personal fulfillment, and allow them to lovingly lead you to Christ, who perfectly models for all of us a humble death that leads to everlasting life.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:13-14, NIV).
Father, save us from ourselves, that we may know the freedom that comes from living for you and serving others in your name, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What might it look like for you in this season to “no longer live for yourself?”
Passion ft. Kristian Stanfill: More Like Jesus (Acoustic)
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