You First

You First!

Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Philippians 2:1-11

[Jesus] humbled himself.

Philippians 2:8

Tibetan-born Sherpa Nawang Gombu and American Jim Whittaker reached the top of Mount Everest on May 1, 1963. As they approached the peak, each considered the honor of being the first of the two to step to the summit. Whittaker motioned for Gombu to move ahead, but Gombu declined with a smile, saying, “You first, Big Jim!” Finally, they decided to step to the summit at the same time.

Paul encouraged the Philippian believers to demonstrate this kind of humility. He said, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4 nkjv). Selfishness and superiority can divide people, but humility unites us, since it is the quality of “being one in spirit and of one mind” (v. 2).

When quarrels and disagreements occur, we can often diffuse them by giving up our right to be right. Humility calls us to show grace and gentleness when we would rather insist on our own way. “In humility value others above yourselves” (v. 3).

Practicing humility helps us to become more like Jesus who, for our sake, “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death” (vv. 7-8).
Following in Jesus’ footsteps means backing away from what is best for us and doing what is best for others.

Jesus, You gave up Your life for me. Help me to see each sacrifice I make as a reflection of Your humility. In putting others first, let me honor You.

Humility promotes unity.

The church at Philippi, established by Paul during his second missionary journey (Acts 16:6–40), was a growing and faithful church that had actively supported Paul’s ministry (Phil. 1:5; 4:15–19). In this thank-you letter, Paul encouraged the Philippians to continue to grow and mature in their faith even in the midst of persecution (1:9–11, 25–30; 4:1). In today’s reading Paul describes what mature Christians look like. They are not selfish or proud, but genuinely care for others (vv. 3–4). Presenting Christ as their perfect model, Paul urged the believers to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (v. 5)—to live as Jesus did with humility, unquestioned obedience, and sacrificial service (vv. 6–8).

There’s Healing in Submission

There is a place in our Christin walk where we all must make a decision to surrender our will over to the will of God. Submission is not a bad thing, in fact, submission is an opportunity to receive power, protection, elevation, and silencing foolishness. It is strongly encouraged to embrace submission in your life because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ submitted himself so until we are able to receive eternal life.

Enjoy this word, and I hope you will be blessed by this message

Finish

I can remember some years ago while attending a ministry in Hinesville, Ga. I was getting some training from a pastor there. The pastor knew I was called to the ministry, but this was an old school type of pastor. See, back then pastors would give you menial tasks to accomplish to see if you would allow humility or pride to rule you while accomplishing the task.oldschool

This pastor told me to go to the church one Saturday and clean it. I was told how to clean it and what tools to use to clean it. One of the tasks I had was to clean the baseboards with a brush, and the Lord was going to talk to me while doing it. Now I know you’re probably saying, “clean the baseboards!! Pastor you know what you can do with those baseboards.”

Now the thought ran through my mind, but I had enough since to know you didn’t say anything, you just did what you were told and trusted what was said because if it was the Lord and I didn’t do it, then I would miss what He had to say. If I did it and the Lord didn’t speak, then I would know this person was just messing with me.

After I finished cleaning the restrooms and the pulpit area and things of that nature, I began to proceed with cleaning the baseboards. This was a small store front church, so it was okay. There were three sections of cleaning I had to do of baseboards, and I can’t tell you the square footage, but man did it seem like those baseboards ran forever.

river-cleaning-baseboards1Now, I started cleaning the baseboards sitting down in some spots, and kneeling in others. The whole time I had my music on, and I was doing just fine. The Lord hadn’t said anything to me yet, but I was sure to keep cleaning for fear I may miss what My Lord had to say to me if I had stopped. When I got to the last seven feet (I am guessing) of baseboards to clean, I began to stand up and finish cleaning the baseboards by bending over. I was getting tired because I hadn’t heard anything yet, and I wanted to stop, but I knew I couldn’t.

When I changed my position from kneeling/sitting to standing, and got tired, that is when I heard the Lord speak to me. He said, “This is how you do your life. You start off enthusiastic and humble concerning the task, but when you don’t see what you are expecting you allow pride to enter your heart, and because of that you never allow me to finish what I am trying to start in you because you get discouraged.” Even now this shakes my spirit because I find myself not allowing the Lord to finish in me what HE has started because I lose interest and get dishearten along the way.

Many times in life we become the scripture in Galatians 5:7 which says, “You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?” (NLT). One thing I know is pride will hold us all back from following the truth of God’s word. When I stood up towards the end of my task, I allowed pride to get the best of me, and I began to take my focus away from humility and having a teachable spirit. When I stood up, I allowed pride to shift my attitude from, “I want to hear from God” to “I don’t care, I just want to get this over with.” When I shifted my attitude into that direction, I allowed pride to bring in frustration, lack of focus, discouragement, and the desire to quit.

Our God is the Lord of Champions, but we have to realize the Greater one who lives on the inside of us. Even to this present day I have to 50c828b4e611bchampionremind myself to finish. I will read a book, and never finish it. I will start a chapter in the Bible, and never finish it. I would have a desire or a plan I would like to work on, and never finish it. We all have been plagued in some fashion or another with losing interest in something we once loved in the beginning. This is why our divorce rates are so high. This is why so many children drop out of school. This is why our lifetime dreams are never fulfilled because we become discouraged and give up when we can’t see the full picture.

Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (KJV). We have to submit to the working of God’s plan for our lives regardless how menial the task may seem to us. It is in those menial tasks that we find out what we are made of, and the areas that need improvement in our lives. The Lord desires to have His perfect work in us because HE wants us to prosper, and see all things to the finish.

il_340x270.582484606_4dvqWe have to keep pressing and have the faith to see things all the way to the finish. Ecclesisates 9:11 says, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Matthew 24:13 says, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” This is where we get the saying, “the race is not given to swift nor the battle to the strong, but he that shall endure to end shall be saved.”

Allowing the Lord to finish the work in our lives is like taking medicine when we are ill. If we do not take the medicine to completion, we stand a chance of another illness plaguing us which can be worse than the previous one . The Lord desires to complete our lives, so we can be whole from everything that has plagued us mentally, physically, and spiritually. When this happens our lives are complete.

I challenge you today to get down on your knees, or sit on your bottom, and clean those baseboards of your life, so the Lord can talk to you into being a completed product. Philippians 3:13-14 – Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Be Open to Correction

“They did not respond to correction.”         Jeremiah 2:30 NIV

 How do you respond to correction? Do you get offended when someone corrects you? Do you take the correction rendered to you as a form of rejection? Do you take a defensive stance when you are corrected? Do you shoot the bearer of correction by making sure he/she never say anything that corrects your behavior again? Do you possibly keep score against a person by making statements like, “In comparison to what I’ve accomplished in life, you have done nothing”, or do you give in to self pity and make others believe your life is so hard because others do not appreciate you or understand you?

Well, the truth of the matter is this…WE NEED PEOPLE TO BE HONEST WITH US AND TELL US THE TRUTH ABOUT OURSELVES!!!! Now I have that off my chest, let me explain. Our egos will blind us on a continual basis because our egos deal with “I” or self. When the Lord sends correction our way it is because He wants what is best for you and HE desires to get your focus shifted away from “self.” His willingness to correct you actually demonstrates how much He care about you and love you. “If you are not disciplined…you are illegitimate children and not true sons” (Hebrews 12:8 NIV). So check your spiritual birth certificate.

People who are open to correction generally exhibit these four qualities:

  1.  Vulnerability. When they’re wrong they’re capable of admitting it-even before they’re confronted.
  2.  Teachability. They’re willing to hear, quick to learn, and always open to counsel.
  3.  Availability. They don’t try to avoid you.
  4.  Honesty. They are committed to the truth regardless of how much it hurts.

You may say this is a high standard; you’re right! It’s a standard all those who possess pride within their heart’s will resist and the fragile egoist will run from. There is something in each of us that would rather look good than be good. So when God sends people into your life who love you enough to tell you the truth and level with you – be open and honest with them. Your personal growth and success depends on it.

Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.    James 4:5-10

The Word for You Today: January 27, 2015

 

Humility, Obedience, and Loyalty

The story of the prodigal son makes mention of a young man wasting his substance. Substance is the essential nature of a Christian. As an  individual our substance should be so real that our ultimate nature should mirror our LORD and saviour. 

The prodigal son wasted his substance because he failed to keep three essential components of his existence: Humility, Obedience, and Loyalty. Proverbs 29:23 says that a man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. When we fail to walk in humility we are allowing pride to take rule in our heart.

Pride will cause us to challenge authority, think of ourselves more highly than we ought to, and refuse instruction. Once we gain what belong to us without humility, we will have the mind frame of a portion of Revelation 3:17. Our pride will tell us because I am rich, and increased with goods, that I do not have need of nothing. Our lack of humility blinds us from the reality that we are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”

The wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked part begins to manifest because we have become a man or woman that has looked in the mirror of truth, and when we decided to go our own way, we forgot what manner of person we were. Humility will cause us to accept the flaws that we see, but pride will always make us forget what state we are really in.

Once we have destroyed humility by allowing pride in, we will destroy ourselves more by our lack of obedience. Obedience is a governor for us like a governor to a car. The speedometer may show 140 mph, but the governor may only allow you to do 100 mph because anything pass that can be instant death.

Deuteronomy 17:12 says, “The man that will do presumptuously (overstepping due bounds) and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.” The father allowed his son to be put away from him because the son overstepped his bounds by not hearkening to the priest of the home.

Hearkening goes hand in hand with obedience because if we cannot give respectful attention to authority, then we will not follow the commands or guidance of authority. The bible tells us in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 that we will receive blessings in our body, our store house, our cattle, and many other areas concerning us. Blessings will always fall on those that give respectful attention to the commandments of the Lord, and His servants that He has placed over our lives to instruct us in the ways of righteousness.

This also bring to mind the third point, Loyalty. Loyalty is faithfulness in our devotion to one’s lawful sovereign or government. When we allow humility to slide from under us, we will begin to lose our desire to walk in obedience. Once we have allowed obedience to slide as well, we will lose our level of loyalty. People that are not loyal, are traitors. Traitors are people that make every attempt to overthrow leadership, and is false in their obligation or duties. 

1 Peter 2:13 instructs us to submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: this is our civil duty, but it is important that we pay allegiance to the rules that govern us. When we are disloyal, we will begin to attach ourselves with citizens that mean us no good. I can remember in a movie where a soldier left his army because the enemy’s army seemed to be of greater stature. When this soldier left his army and crossed over, the general of the enemy’s army called him a traitor because he began to tell all of their secrets. 

To make a long story short, the general gave this traitor a lecture about the world being full of traitors, and that it didn’t need anymore. After his lecture, the general called for one of his soldier’s to tie the man to the floor with his legs open, and the soldier struck the traitor in his private area with a mallet. The purpose of the general doing this was he felt the world did not need to be populated anymore with traitors. When we are traitors to the gospel we cannot reproduce seeds of righteousness. We can only reproduce what we are, traitors. Romans 5:19 says, “For as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” 
 
God is calling for His sons and daughters to walk in great humility. The way that we allow humility to enter into our lives is through fasting (Psalm 35:13), through trials and tribulations (Deuteronomy 8:3), and not making a reputation for ourselves (Philippians 2:7-8). Those trials will also cause obedience to come into our lives. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Christ learned obedience by the things that he suffered.”

The suffering that we shall experience is: keeping our body under subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27), and suffering for the sake of the gospel (2 Timothy 2:12, 1 Peter 3:14-17). We should love to obey the Lord because in our willingness to obey, he said that we would eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19), and our days will be lengthened (1 Kings 3:14). 
 
Loyalty causes us to be faithful. We can never rule over anything until we learn how to be faithful. Loyalty causes us to get up and seek the Lord early, it causes us to hearken to His voice, it causes us to stay within our boundaries of righteousness, and it causes us to always bless the name of the Lord no matter what the situation. Though we may mess up, we have an advocate that goes before the Father on our behalf because we have humbled ourselves before the mighty hand of God, and have made an allegiance to follow His commandments.

We must submit ourselves to the Lord and resist the devil. We do this by destroying pride with humility, destroying disobedience with obedience, and destroying the spirit of a traitor with loyalty. Then and only then, will we possess the power of Christ to overthrow the workings of the enemy in our lives (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).

As a Servant

In order to be a successful leader, one must learn how to be a servant to those that he/she is leading. The word serve is not a bad thing, but in fact it describes what leaders should do: to furnish or supply with something needed or desired. A leader should be able to supply his/her people with what they need in order to accomplish the task at hand. A leader should also answer the needs of his/her people. This is very important because without this the people will dry up and wither away, and they will feel like they are being used up and not being taken care of. And finally a leader should provide services that benefit or help. A leader should never do anything to benefit or help themselves, but they should do all that they can to help and benefit their workers, their community, or those that they provide services to. Luke 22:26 But ye [shall] not [be] so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

We Must Learn How to Serve Before We can Lead

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn order to be a successful leader, one must learn how to be a servant to those that he/she is leading. The word serve is not a bad thing, but in fact it describes what leaders should do: to furnish or supply with something needed or desired. A leader should be able to supply his/her people with what they need in order to accomplish the task at hand. A leader should also answer the needs of his/her people. This is very important because without this the people will dry up and wither away, and feel as if they are being short changed. Finally, a leader should provide services that benefit or help. A leader should never do anything to benefit or help themselves, but they should do all that they can to help and benefit their workers, their community, or those that they provide services to. Luke 22:26 But ye [shall] not [be] so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

SAMUEL ANOINTING DAVID14X17
The Bible gives many examples of those that have served before they ever reached the office that the Lord had for them. The best example of this is David. David was anointed as king during a time that King Saul was operating as the king. When David was anointed he went back to doing what he was doing. He served his father Jesse by tending to his sheep. David did not storm the kings court, nor did he brag and boast to his father or brothers about the anointing that was poured over his life. Instead he just waited until he was called forth during the season that the Lord had appointed for him. When it came time for David to enter the palace, it wasn’t for him to rule, but it was a time of proving and testing. One must first know how to operate under the anointing for the position that the Lord has for him in order to occupy that place. It is said (by some Bible scholars) that David served in King Saul’s court approximately seven years. During this time David was learning humility, patience, strength, faith, and other characteristic traits in order to be fit for the destiny that the Lord has placed upon his life. Not once did the scripture mention that David tried to usurp King Saul’s authority by letting him know that he was anointed as king, and neither did David disrespect King Saul.

In the church today we have so many ministers/leaders that believe that they are suppose to tell the pastor what to do, and how often they should do it. So many leaders today are defiant to those that have the rule over them. They forget that they are suppose to submit themselves to those leaders in a manner of service, and not standing equal with those that are over them to watch their souls. (Hebrews 13:17)
One thing that David did for King Saul was that he ministered to him when he was troubled. It did not matter that king Saul had an evil spirit on him, David still ministered to him in a manner that refreshed Saul. (1 Samuel 16:23) The Lord wants to know how we will minister to those that he has placed over us before we move into a position of authority. Remember, we are being tested during this time.

humility

There is a level of confidentiality that we must maintain when we are learning from our leaders. We will see their good and their bad, but the Lord wants to know how well we will hold some things in our hearts, and offer what we see to the Lord. The reason why the Lord is allowing us to see certain things is because he wants to know how well we can cover the anointing that is on the lives of our leaders. We know that love covers all sins and gossipers destroy bonds that the Lord has made (Proverbs 17:9), but this doesn’t give us a reason to cover those that blatantly sin before the Lord and continue to operate through deception. Because if we allow people to operate in sins that our Bible speaks against then the ministry isn’t blameless, and the Gospel has become of no effect. (2 Corinthians 4:3, 6:3).boy-shh


The reason that we go through this is because the Lord wants to make sure that we are not trying to take what is ours instead of waiting for the Lord to place us where we need to be. We must be like Joseph and John when they said, “it is not in me, and I must decrease that he may increase” (Genesis 41:16; John 3:30). As you read though 1 Samuel 16 – 31 you will see that David had many opportunities to take King Saul’s life, but he respected the anointing that was once upon his life, and he respected the position that he was still occupying at the time. Each one of us as leaders will be tested with seeing will we try to kill our leaders when the Lord shows us their weaknesses, or will we humble ourselves, and continue to stay humble before the Lord by keeping them before us as our leaders. Now in today’s world we kill one another with our mouths by trying to defame one another, destroy one another character, and making ourselves look better than the other.


Through all of this David never sinned against King Saul nor the Lord. As a matter of fact, in 2 Samuel a soldier came to David to give him a report after King Saul, Jonathan, and their men were killed that David questioned him concerning how he knew this information. The man was an Amalekite, and he stated that he killed King Saul because he asked him to, and afterwards he stripped king Saul of his crown, and his bracelet and brought it to David. When David heard the news he fasted until evening for the people of God, but David was not pleased with the Amalekite’s eagerness to kill King Saul. This is what David said, “How wast though not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord’s Anointed? And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. And David said unto him, thy blood be upon thy head; for though mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord’s anointed.” (2 Samuel 2:14-16) In all of this David still honored the man of God regardless of the state that he was in. People of the Lord lets make sure that we are allowing the Lord to establish us, and not we ourselves. Keep a heart of a servant at all times, and the Lord will exalt you in due season. 1 Peter 5:6

Servant leadership2