Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 12, 2016

"Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-11

The "I am 3rd" lifestyle means that you put God first in your time commitments, in your caring for others and with your cash. These truths are illustrated powerfully by the parable of the Good Samaritan.

If you want to obey the Great Commandment and live it out the "I am 3rd" lifestyle is how you are to live.

That matters!

It also matters because that is the lifestyle Jesus lived when He came to redeem the world. The man Who did more than anyone else to change the world lived the "I am 3rd" lifestyle.

Would you like to change your corner of the world? Then who better to imitate than Jesus!

Paul says, "Think of yourself the way Jesus did!"

How was that?

Jesus thought third!

Thinking third means:

  • Not clinging to privilege
  • Not clinging to position
  • Not clinging to power
  • Not choosing pride

Are you thinking third?

As a believer you are called to think like Jesus. Why not compare His mindset and attitude with His?

How do you handle privilege?

Do you covet a position?

How do you deal with power?

Are you clinging to pride?

"I am 3rd" Person

"If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." Philippians 2:1-4 (The Message)

Paul was an "I am 3rd" person. 

He wasn't always that way having been educated and groomed for success as an "I am first" person. You don't get more "I am first" than killing people who present a challenge to your faith.

So what happened to change him from an aggressive "I am first" person to one of the greatest "I am 3rd" people who ever lived? He met Jesus up close and personal on the road to Damascus. As a result he submitted to God, surrendered to God's Spirit and began serving God's people.

I dare say you never would have heard of Paul's greatness if he had not become an "I am 3rd" person. He became great by dedicating the rest of his life to making other Christ-followers great. That becomes obvious in his letter to the members of the Church in Philippi.

Writing from jail, Paul gives some specific practical advice on how to be an "I am 3rd" person. He shares six things they SHOULD do as an "I am 3rd" person and three things "I am 3rd" people don't do.

"I am 3rd" People:
  • "Agree with each other." Literally, "have the same mind" or "think the same way". How do you do that? By coming into agreement around God's Word and thinking like Jesus thinks.
  • "Love each other." Jesus said, "Love others as you love yourself." So loving others means giving them something you wish you had or meeting a need for them that is going unmet in your life.
  • "Be deep-spirited friends." Connect with other believers at a deep spiritual level. Love deeply and allow others to love you.
  • "Put yourself aside." Bypass your own desires and needs in favor of the needs of others.
  • "Help others get ahead". Become a cheerleader, a promoter and a fan of others. Use whatever influence or power you might have to advance their status and standing.
  • "Forget yourself long enough to lend a helping hand." Another way to put this is remember to be third as you help others be first.
"I am 3rd" people don't:
  • "Don't push their way to the top." - "I am 3rd" people are not self-seeking or self-centered. They rise as a result of lifting others to the top.
  • "Don't sweet talk your way to the top." - "I am 3rd" people don't use flattery or compliments to gain an advantage in their organization.
  • "Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage." "I am 3rd" people don't use others they use whatever influence or advantage they may have to give the advantage to others.
"I am 3rd" people live a counter-intuitive lifestyle! They do for others exactly what they want or need others to do for them! They obey the First Commandment admonition to "do unto others as you would want the to do for you!"

You should know by now if you are an "I am 3rd" person or not by what you are doing and by what you are NOT doing!!

What will you do now?