Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Are we willing to deny ourselves for the sake of others?
Put together by Dustin Dyer

"Ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing"
Don't see the above statement and assume the word "costs" means cash money. The word "costs" in this statement means so much more...

Are we willing to rid ourselves of things no matter how small or large? Are we willing to
give up things even if it means we suffer or even experience physical pain? We are
self-preservationists by nature, that's just part of our sinful nature. But as we strive further toward
the Lord and truly ask ourselves what He gave up, we truly understand that He had given everything.

Are we willing to give up our rights?

What about things we think are not that harmful? What if these same things would
cause others around us to stumble? Example- If you were in a social setting where everyone was
drinking or doing drugs and lets say you like to drink but you don't have an addiction problem. Now lets say you have one friend who was with you that struggles with alcoholism, would you deny yourself for the sake of your friend? This is a small example but this Biblical concept can be used
in a wide range of situations and circumstances.
I'm not saying we should give up drinking all together but if it would cause us to stumble or cause others to stumble we need to examine and be mindful of when we do it, where we do it, and if we are strong enough to do it responsibly.

The point is, are we willing to be that example? Are we willing to love unconditional like God loves? Some will say, "No, we can't love like God, He is God and we are just human." Those people forget, God made us in HIS IMAGE, so no we can never be God, but we ARE capable of loving others and sacrificing ourselves in numerous ways for others, even those we do not know personally. What makes this possible for us and what makes it easier for us is our dedication to the Lord. As we learn, pray, and grow our relationship with God, we understand the deeper meaning of this concept and we desire it because God desires it, that is how His image is reflected in us.

Lets look at Timothy in the Book of Acts 16: 1-5 Timothy makes a choice to do something that would cause him physical pain just so he could reach others for Christ.

The Apostle Paul chose Timothy to assist him in the mission field. Paul's focus here was preach to the Jews that still believed they were under the bondage of the law. We know as believers that Christ fulfilled the law and that we as believers are no longer under the law, we are free in Christ.
God raised up Timothy to do a work. Timothy had parents who were different, his mother was a Jewish believer and his father was a greek(nonbeliever). The Jews that Paul was trying to reach knew this about Timothy and Paul also knew they would never take Timothy seriously. In the Jewish culture you had to be circumcised according to the law, Paul and Timothy knew that when you are free in Christ the law of physical circumcision is no longer needed . Timothy who was not circumcised was asked by Paul to get circumcised for the sake of being used in order to bring the Jews in that area to Christ. Timothy being dedicated and loving the Lord, chose to endure this physical pain that really wasn't even needed or necessary just so that he could be used to bring others to the Lord.
This is a somewhat odd example but it shows how a believer is willing to give everything for others and to suffer for the sake of even those who might not even like him. But all actions are recognized and God speaks to people that don't know Him through the selfless acts of His believers.

God convicts the hearts of sinners by using those who would give their all for Him.

This is unconditional love, this is God's love that we unworthy humans are capable of expressing. This is how we are made in His image, that is the proof......

Cyrus the Founder of the Persian empire captured a Prince and his family. Cyrus asked the Prince, "What will you give me if I release you?" The Prince said, "half of my wealth". Cyrus then asked the Prince, "what will you give me if I release your children? The Prince said, "I will give you everything" Cyrus than asked what about if I release your wife?, The Prince said, "I will give you my life" Cyrus being so moved by the Prince's responses, released his whole family. Later the Prince said to his wife, "wasn't Cyrus a handsome and good, noble man? The wife responded with a deep love in her eyes, "I didn't notice, I could only keep my eyes on the one who was willing to give himself for me.

That is what God is....

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