Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Putting Others First

Have you ever wondered how or why God is so patient with us?
I know that, for myself, I mess up so much that it makes me wonder: Why does God continue to show me grace, patience, and mercy?

I know "The Answer"--that it's because of HIS loving Character, and HIS unending Grace, through faith in Jesus, by which He CHOOSES to continue loving, forgiving, and "putting up with" us., if I know that, why do I fail to extend this to others? I can find myself so impatient with thier 'issues', and bothered by their 'idiosyncrisies' that I seem to forget everything I'VE experienced!

Paul writes this: "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)

Think about that! We, who've experienced the love, patience, and grace of God first-hand SHOULD be more willing to extend that to others...yet, sometimes we get way too comfortable with being critical, irritable, insensitive...THIS SHOULD NOT BE!

Jesus--the One person EVER who deserved to treat others as 'worse' than Himself--did not. In fact, He treated them BETTER than Himself! Paul goes on:
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.(Philippians 2:5-8)

When I think of all the 'justifiable' reasons I give myself for being irritated and frustrated with others (in my family, in traffic, at the office), I then look at the example of Jesus and suddenly find that there is NO justification for it, period!

If Jesus can extend His grace and patience to me--with all my 'issues'--then I surely can to others--with all thiers.

So, next time you're finding yourself frustrated and irritated with others, remember: "Put yourself aside...forget yourselves...think of yourselves the way Jesus did..."

...and maybe, just maybe, you'll find that the 'issues' aren't in THEM...they're in US!

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