Freedom in Christ = Love & Service

I Am – Crowder

Read the image verse.

In this world freedom and being a servant are in opposition to each other. But like so many things, in the Kingdom of God this is a complete 180° shift from the ways of this world.

Look at Jesus. He is God. Yet He gave up the privileges of being God to come to earth in the form of a man, as a servant AND a sacrifice for our sins.

When the mother of Zebedee’s sons (James and John) came to Jesus asking Him to “Declare that in Your kingdom one of these two sons of mine may sit at Your right hand, and the other at Your left.” Jesus replied “You do not know what you are asking,” . “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” the brothers answered.
25But Jesus called them (the disciples) aside and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. 26It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:20-22, 25-28 BSB

To be followers (disciples) of Jesus we have to be imitators of Jesus. Jesus used those three years of ministry to teach His followers as much by how He lived as by His teachings. This is how the whole WWJD movement from a couple decades ago was launched, for us to be imitators of Jesus’ life. It became quite a phenomenon for a while, then, unfortunately, became somewhat of a cliche`. Another one I really liked that didn’t catch on as much was Jesus must increase I must decrease out of John 3:30. Unfortunately I don’t have a cross icon on my phone, so I’m using an anchor for this illustration: ⚓ > I <. I still have my bracelet somewhere. I think this one actually affected my thinking more than WWJD. After all as Paul wrote,
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved e and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 NLT

1Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, 2and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2 BSB

I Must Decrease – Matt Papa

Some keys to living the disciple (disciplined) life:

  • A gentle answer to deflect anger. Proverbs 15:1 NLT
  • Love makes up for all offenses. Proverbs 10:12 NLT
  • Show deep love for each other, for. love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 NLT
  • Set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
  • Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. (See also Philippians 4:8) Colossians 3:1-2 NLT
  • Since God chose you to be the holy
  • people he loves, you must clothe
  • yourselves with tenderhearted mercy,
  • Kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
  • Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (See also Matthew 6:14-15)
  • Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
  • Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
  • Always be thankful.
  • Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
  • Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.
  • Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
  • Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:12-17 NLT
  • Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
  • Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.
  • Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:2, 5-6 NLT
  • We urge you, brothers, to

° admonish the unruly,
° encourage the fainthearted,
° help the weak,
° be patient with everyone.

  • Make sure that no one repays evil for evil.
  • Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people.
  • Rejoice at all times.
  • Pray without ceasing.
  • Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 BSB
  • Don’t be selfish;
  • Don’t try to impress others.
  • Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
  • Don’t look out only for your own
  • interests, but take an interest in others, too.
  • You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
  • For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
  • Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.
  • Live clean, innocent lives as children of God,
  • Shine like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
  • Hold firmly to the word of life; Philippians 2:3-8, 13-16a NLT

How many times did thankfulness come up in that list? It wasn’t where I was headed when I started making the list, but as I was reviewing the list it was quite evident God has a theme here. I was looking for how we can love each other, being servants, filled with grace, humility, forgiving, and live at peace with one another. There is so much of the opposite in our lives and culture right now!

Yet here it is in black and white clear as day, be thankful. Think about it for a moment. What would happen if we, individually and even more so collectively really began living a truly thankful life? An attitude of gratitude. How would that change our lives, our country, our world?

  • It would make us look at things more positively, instead of always looking for the negative point of view.
  • We would see many more smiles on the faces around us.
  • Feelings of contentment and satisfaction with what we have would go up.
  • We would appreciate the people in our lives more.
  • Most importantly we would acknowledge God as our source of salvation, provision, and help.
  • And maybe we would no longer be afraid to share our joy in Christ with others.

Oh happy day! That day won’t magically happen all at once for everyone, BUT GOD can make it happen for you, and you, and you, and me when we stop fighting Him, slow down and acknowledge Him every day.

“Stop your fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 CSB

Seek out the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.
1 Chronicles 16:11 BSB

Seek His face and not only His hand. Look for the good, the blessings, His presence in our everyday lives. Acknowledge it and bless Him for it. Let it fill us with His joy and peace. It is all about attitude. When mine is out of whack, I simply pray, “God, I need an attitude adjustment right now.” It may sound like a silly prayer, but if it is sincere, which if I’m praying it, it is and it’s desperate. And you know what? God shows up and answers it big time!

We just have to trust, believe, and obey. There are times in our interactions with others, especially those closest to us, ironically, that it is very hard to love and serve. Anger and frustration beg us to let loose on them. But if we stop for even a moment to consider how thankful we really are for that person, that anger and frustration can melt away.

True story here. You know how little things can just get under your skin after a while until you blow up? One day a couple years ago, I walked into the bathroom to a sink littered with whiskers. I was ready to fuss and fume when I heard Holy Spirit say, “One day you will miss those whiskers.” Talk about a jolt! I cleaned up the whiskers and I continue to do so, as well as toast crumbs or spilled coffee with a happy heart, because it means there is a hubby in the house. One who still works very hard to provide for us. It only takes a moment for me to wipe up a small mess, and it gives me a moment to thank God for my hubby with a grin on my face, rather than grumbling and fussing over such a small thing and making us both grumpy. But it is my choice each and every time. There are still times I am tempted to fuss at him, but I quickly remember Holy Spirit’s warning and move on. And if there are days I see just a couple stray whiskers, I know he made an effort to keep it clean and that makes me smile and be grateful too. Besides, I’m not exactly a neat freak. I have no room to complain. Like Jesus said,
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
Luke 6:42 ESV

Where the Spirit of the Lord Is – Life.Church Worship

So let us keep following Jesus with a humble, servant’s heart full of love and gratitude toward God and people. Just as Jesus said with the two greatest commandments:
37Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:37-40 BSB

Love (for God & People)
+ Service (to People for Jesus’ sake)
Freedom (in Christ)

Make this your In-Dependence Day! The day you realize your true freedom comes from complete dependence upon Jesus and the grace of God to sustain and strengthen you as you put all your faith and trust in Him to live your life in Him.

Blessings of Hope & Joy,

©2020 Julia Melatis, Hope & Joy Ministries. All rights reserved.
Please share this to your social media accounts as an encouragement of Hope & Joy to others.

Scripture quotations marked BSB are from The Berean Bible (www.Berean.Bible) Berean Study Bible (BSB) © 2016-2020 by Bible Hub and Berean.Bible. Used by Permission. All rights Reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked ESV are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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